Author: Critical Frequency

Subscribed: 14,983Played: 150,753


A true-crime podcast about climate change, hosted and reported by award-winning investigative journalist Amy Westervelt.

52 Episodes
Despite tax breaks, royalty cuts, and other COVID-related incentives, Chesapeake Energy—a pioneer in the American shale gas (fracking) industry—declared bankruptcy this week. It's the first example of what we expect to be many of the government throwing good money after bad in attempts to use COVID relief funds to shore up companies that were failing long before the pandemic hit. Patreon: Learn more about your ad choices. Visit
Two big new suits, in Minnesota and D.C., were filed within 24 hours of each other and allege the same thing: that fossil fuel companies misled consumers about climate change. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit
A new report from Carbon Tracker finds that not only have oil and gas companies not been budgeting for plugging and abandoning wells, they've been grossly underestimating the cost of that work, especially for fracking wells. The COVID-19 pandemic has only highlighted the problem. Report co-authors Rob Schuwerk and Greg Rogers join to talk about the size of the problem, the cost, and who will ultimately pay. Report: Support us: Learn more about your ad choices. Visit
Amid nationwide Black Lives Matter protests, some climate activists have been saying "now's not the time to talk about climate." In this episode we bring you an encore presentation of the latest Hot Take episode, in which Amy and Mary Annaise Heglar talk about how justice is justice; the idea that climate and racial justice are all the same thing, and can't be separated. To access the full-length episode, and weekly roundups of climate justice and accountability writing, reporting and analysis, please consider becoming a Hot Take premium subscriber: Learn more about your ad choices. Visit
Naomi Klein's book The Shock Doctrine focused on what she calls "disaster capitalism," the sort of corporate feeding frenzy that happens in the wake of major crises. It was on a research trip for that book, to post-Katrina New Orleans, that she connected her work on human rights and labor to climate. Klein shares that journey here, explains the Green New Deal, and talks about what needs to happen to spur a justice-focused transformation in the U.S. You can find Naomi's many great books here: Support us: Learn more about your ad choices. Visit
Reporters Alexander Beunder and Jilles Mast have been combing through 150+ boxes of documents from the personal archive of one of the Netherlands' top climate skeptics during the 1990s, a guy named Fritz Böttcher, and made a shocking discovery: throughout his career Böttcher received direct funding from Royal Dutch Shell. It's part of a large project called the Shell Papers at the Platform for Authentic Journalism, in the Netherlands. Read more: Shell Papers: Shorter summary of Böttcher report: Learn more about your ad choices. Visit
Last week, The New York Times ran a story on the GOP's favorite new climate narrative: If you think quarantine is bad, just wait til the Dems impose climate action on you. In this special ep from Hot Take, with Mary Annaise Heglar and Amy Westervelt, we look at how that narrative came about, why it's striking a nerve, and how to wrestle the climate story back. Subscribe to Hot Take: Listen to Hot Take: Learn more about your ad choices. Visit
In April 2020, Fred Singer, longtime king of the climate deniers, died at the age of 95. In this episode, investigative reporter Dan Zegart, author of the book Civil Warriors, about the 1990s tobacco litigation, joins to talk about Singer's place in the history of science denial. Connor Gibson, an investigator with Greenpeace also joins to talk about the climate denial machine Singer built, the legacy he leaves behind, and whether the COVID-19 pandemic may topple science denial and fake free marketeering forever. Singer obituary: Support our work: Learn more about your ad choices. Visit
A lawsuit filed against the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) over a small project in Massachusetts could have big implications. It aims to force FERC to comply with an order the courts gave it back in 2017, and that it's been ignoring ever since: to evaluate the overall emissions and climate change impact of any new energy project. The case has particular relevance right now as FERC has been rapidly approving every project that crosses its desk. Adam Carlesco, the lead attorney for the plaintiffs, joins to walk us through the case. Support our work: Learn more about your ad choices. Visit
Political scientist and environmental policy expert Leah Stokes joins us to discuss the many things the new film Planet of the Humans gets wrong about renewable energy, environmentalists and the fight for climate action. Related stories: Support our work: Learn more about your ad choices. Visit
On the 50th anniversary of Earth Day and the week of the 10-year anniversary of the BP Deepwater oil spill, we head to Louisiana to talk petrochemicals, petroleum, plastic, fossil fueled philanthropy, and how the pandemic is affecting it all. Fossil-Free Fest: Bucket Brigade: Healthy Gulf: Support us: Learn more about your ad choices. Visit
French artist Joanie Lemercier has been a thorn in Autodesk's side for more than a year now, since he first pointed out that the California software company's computer-aided drafting (CAD) software keeps Europe's largest coal mine operating. Tech reporter Maddie Stone started looking into it, and found that Autodesk software is used by not only coal mines but also to design oil and gas pipelines, and for all sorts of other extractive purposes. It's a window into a broader discussion around climate accountability and tech these days that asks the question: how do we hold tech companies responsible for the damage their products might do? Read the feature here: Support our work: Learn more about your ad choices. Visit
In a new report, the Center for International Environmental Law looks at the way oil, gas and petrochemical companies are leveraging the pandemic to push policy and increase profits, and whether these efforts will ultimately be successful. Carroll Muffet, one of our S3 experts, joins to walk us through some of the key points of the report, including how the industry is using the pandemic to push more single-use plastics. Read the report: Pandemic Crisis, Systemic Decline: Why Exploiting the COVID-19 Crisis Will Not Save the Oil, Gas, and Plastics Industries  Support our work: Learn more about your ad choices. Visit
Because of their proximity to oil and gas operations, residents of Broomfield, Colorado were at risk of exposure to flowback-driven air pollution during shelter-in-place orders, so the city issued an emergency decree for local operations to cease fracking flowback during the pandemic. Extraction Oil filed for a temporary restraining order to block the city's decree. It's the first test of Colorado's 2019 law prioritizing public health and safety over oil and gas production, which allows local governments to set safeguards that are more stringent than state regulations. Climate-COVID-19 policy tracker: Support our work: Learn more about your ad choices. Visit
Dr. Julia Steinberger, professor of social ecology and ecological economics at the University of Leeds, has published some really interesting research recently debunking some classic fossil fuel narratives around the industry's importance to society and human wellbeing. Here we dig into her latest study, which found that while fossil fuel use has certainly grown GDP, it has had no effect on life expectancy ... in other words the industry's "benefit" has accrued to relatively few humans. Study: "Your Money or Your Life?" Environmental Research Letters Support our work: Transcript: Learn more about your ad choices. Visit
Field investigator Sharon Wilson has spotted a troubling increase in methane emissions from refineries in the Permian Basin, in Texas. Things went from bad to worse in January 2020, and really blew up in early March ... almost as though they knew regulators wouldn't be watching. Support our work: More reporting: Learn more about your ad choices. Visit
The American Petroleum Institute, ExxonMobil and Chevron have been amongst the biggest opponents to bailouts for shale gas companies as part of the coronavirus relief package. DeSmog's Justin Mikulka joins us to explain why. Support our work: Follow Justin's reporting: Learn more about your ad choices. Visit
The oil and gas industry was headed for broke long before COVID-19. Now the Trump administration wants to use the pandemic to put it on life support, while the American Petroleum Institute uses it to get the industry's deregulation wishlist. Support our work: Read more: More from the ARO Working Group: Learn more about your ad choices. Visit
Drilled will be back with bonus episodes soon. In the meantime, check out one of our other climate podcasts, Hot Take. In this episode, hosts Mary Annaise Heglar and Amy Westervelt talk to David Wallace Wells, author of The Uninhabitable Earth and deputy editor of New York magazine, about the intersection of climate change and the coronavirus pandemic. Get ad-free eps and support Drilled's reporting: More reporting: Learn more about your ad choices. Visit
This season we've traced the creation of Big Oil's big propaganda machine. In this episode, the season finale, we look at what can be done about it now that it has delivered us into an era of disinformation. NYU journalism professor Jay Rosen and former FCC commissioner Nicholas Johnson join us to talk about everything from the Fairness Doctrine to cable access to today's "post-fact" world, and where we can really go from here. Special thanks to Mary Catherine O'Conner for additional reporting. Have ideas? Drop us a line! Support us: Follow us @WeAreDrilled Get more info & subscribe to our newsletter: Learn more about your ad choices. Visit
Comments (14)

Jon Hart

This is one of the most enlightening podcasts I have had the pleasure of listening too.

May 11th

Joe Campbell

The smug tone is too annoying to listen to - I couldn't make it through the first edition.

May 6th


makes me sad and furious listening to this, but my gosh is it a fantastic podcast. Great Work!

Apr 19th

Amanda Joy

why is the sound quality so terrible? I wish I could listen but this is unbearable.

Apr 8th

kWide Vidsb

don't have kids. kids have bigger co2 footprint than all your flights in your whole lifetime and beyond combined

Apr 4th

N Me

this show is very well done, it lays bare the calculated steps taken by the "titans of industry" along side DC, to manufacture a disinformation campaign in order to deny climate science. (warning: nausea is a possible side effect of listening.)

Mar 2nd


Why only criticize Bernie Sanders?

Sep 5th
Reply (1)

Michael Jiggens

I sent your podcast to a friend of mine and he blocked me. I just sent him this: "Dear _______. You've obviously blocked me on WhatsApp. As this is going to make for (at best) some awkwardness at karate, maybe we should sort this out before tomorrow. I sent you a genuinely fascinating link to a very well researched and totally fact checkable podcast (sent to most of my friends in fact, as it's really quite good) as I thought you would be interested. We had discussed the topic before in a friendly manner and I had promised I would provide you with evidence to back up my assertions. I compiled quite an exhaustive body of evidence, but realised you would be unlikely to wade through it and apply the critical thinking it requires. No insult intended there, I appreciate you're a busy man and the time and effort required to properly assess these studies could be used for doing other things. Personally, I am always ready for friendly debate and I am always prepared to admit I'm wrong if shown a more convincing argument. I like being proved wrong, it helps me evolve as a person. I live by the adage 'show me a man of fifty who still holds the same opinions he did at thirty and I'll show you a man who wasted twenty years of his life'. I find the frankly childish tactic of blocking anyone I don't agree with (I used to do it too, part of why I left social media) to be a toxic and divisive behaviour that does no good to anyone. It suggests a lack of faith in one's convictions leading to an unwillingness to be proved wrong. 'Lalalala I'm not listening' kind of thing... There really is no shame in admitting you're wrong, the real shame is insisting you're right despite strong evidence to the contrary. This applies as much to me as to you. I consider you to be a good friend and therefore I implore you to not throw away a valuable friendship for no reason at all. Your friend, Michael. " No reply yet. He's a middle aged white Conservative. We live in the UK.

Jul 28th
Reply (1)


Such important investigative journalism. I will be subscribing to Drilled! Thank you

Jun 4th

Mike Hansen

So refreshing what a talented young woman!

May 17th


really good content! thanks

Mar 1st



Mar 1st
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