Horsemen of the Apocalypse is the new book by environmental journalist Dick Russell that details the people and institutions most responsible for today’s climate and environmental crisis. Russell focuses on fossil fuel titans like Charles and David Koch; Secretary of State and former ExxonMobil CEO Rex Tillerson; CEO of fracking giant Continental Resources Harold Hamm; and Peabody Coal chief Greg Boyce.
“As carbon dioxide has risen to atmospheric levels not witnessed on earth in millions of years, a relative handful of men have fought to maintain their power and wealth at the expense of all civilization,” Russell writes. “This book scrutinizes who these people are, their means of confusing the truth, and how they justify their actions.”
In the book Russell addresses how these energy moguls manipulated and confused the public through public relations spin doctors like Richard Berman and propaganda campaigns run by nonprofit front groups, think tanks, and other research-for-hire organizations. Russell unearths the unrelenting flow of fossil fuel money to lobbyists and government decision makers, particularly within the Trump administration, which has tilted the scales in favor of corporate profits and against the well-being of all people and the planet.
The book dives into the history of individuals — many now running the government — who have deep ties to the Koch brothers, dark money, and networks of climate denial. A sampling of these individuals include many familiar to DeSmog readers: the current head of the Environmental Protection Agency, Scott Pruitt; Secretary of the Interior Ryan Zinke; Secretary of Energy Rick Perry; Rep. Lamar Smith; Sen. James Inhofe; David Schnare; Michael Catanzaro; Myron Ebell; Thomas Pyle; and Mike Pompeo.
Russell also covers the shifting mind-set of the younger generation. In particular, he writes about the offspring of some of the wealthiest fossil fuel families and their dedication to changing the status quo in the energy arena. He covers the journey to fossil fuel divestment by the Rockefeller family, as well as the environmental quest of the granddaughter of the man who pioneered fracking. He also interviews the son of Richard Berman who has described his father as “a sort of human monster.”
Robert F. Kennedy, Jr. edited the book and provides the introduction. Kennedy notes how the election of Donald Trump has unfortunately resulted in the “horsemen” described in the book being elevated to “the pinnacle of power.” Kennedy also references the Book of Revelation — the origin of the concept of the Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse.
“The Book of Revelation described the Four Horsemen as war, conquest, pestilence and death. Donald Trump’s choice, to invite a group of conscienceless oil men to govern the country, has brought such chilling metaphors to the foreground, as more than an obscure biblical reference.”
As Americans turn out to march in support of science and action on climate change, this new book details how we arrived here and why these efforts are more critical than ever to ensure Earth is a livable planet for future generations.
Main image: From the book cover