a record-breaking year for climate change

Climate Costs

According to the U.S. government, the impacts of extreme climate events are already costing the country an estimated $150 billion a year. Those costs are only expected to rise.

These lead to billion-dollar disasters, including more intense droughts, longer wildfire seasons, heavier rainfall events, and higher storm surges from sea level rise. Fossil fuel emissions are the primary driver of these changes.

The U.S. experienced a record-breaking 28 separate billion-dollar weather and climate disasters in 2023, surpassing the previous record of 22 events in 2020.

This reflects a disturbing trend towards more frequent and costly extreme events. The increasing frequency of billion-dollar disasters means less time between events to recover, especially in highly vulnerable areas. 

Texas, Florida, and Louisiana have borne the brunt of costs. But every state has been impacted by multiple billion-dollar events. 

They Knew They Lied

Big Oil has known about climate change since the 1970s and they have spent decades discrediting climate science, downplaying its implications for their operations and protecting the bottom line of their companies at all costs.

In the 1970s Exxon scientists first predicted the course of global temperature rise with striking accuracy. 

In 1988, Nasa scientist James Hansen issued a dire warning about climate change when he testified in front of Congress; internally, Exxon responded by doubling down on their commitment to preserving their “business options.”

As we speak, Big Oil is dumping millions into groups like the American Petroleum Institute. An investigation by The New York Times showed the American Petroleum Institute spent $500,000 in six weeks on Facebook ads attacking Biden’s climate bill. Their total spending goes far beyond that.

In 2020 alone, oil and gas sector businesses shelled out $9.5 million in advertising that pushed messages about how essential fossil fuels are to the energy mix; that these corporations are good for communities and espouse patriotic values; and, most of all, that the industry is invested in climate solutions. 

Meanwhile, the same sector poured over $112 million into political lobbying that year. In 2021, that number ticked up to over $115 million, accommodating a payroll of 746 lobbyists, one of whom was infamously caught on camera bragging about weekly meetings with Joe Manchin. 

Americans are paying higher prices at the pump and billions for climate disasters, all so the industry can keep pulling in record profits. It’s time to level the playing field.