Ben Franta

PhD candidate in History of Science, Stanford University

Dr. Benjamin Franta is a PhD Candidate in History of Science at Stanford University. He has a separate PhD in Applied Physics from Harvard University, a JD from Stanford Law School, and is a pending member of the California Bar. His research focuses on the history of fossil fuel producers and their internal knowledge, strategies, and public communications regarding climate change, and his work has been published in numerous outlets including Nature Climate Change, The Guardian, American Bar Association's Trends, and more. He has served as a consulting expert for climate litigation efforts in the U.S. and internationally and is a cofounder of the Climate Social Science Network at Brown University.

Podcast Guest Appearances

EPA Then and Now

It was in 1970, under President Nixon, that the Environmental Protection Agency was founded. While the Agency enjoyed tremendous bipartisan support for decades, the last nine years have seen a decline in support from congressional Republicans. Recently, former EPA Administrator, Gina McCarthy, explained that she is not worried about protections being rolled back—she thinks they will withstand the assault—but rather about the budget cuts.

Portions of this program were recorded at the Commonwealth Club of California in San Francisco.

The Enablers: The Firms Behind Fossil Fuel Falsehoods

Public perception is important to any company, and fossil fuel companies are no different. Every year, they spend large amounts of money to make sure that the public is abundantly aware of all of the work fossil fuel companies are doing to help with the transition to clean energy.

Revisiting The Enablers: The Firms Behind Fossil Fuel Falsehoods

For years, fossil fuel companies have claimed to support climate science and policy. Many have recently pledged to hit net zero emissions by midcentury. Yet behind the scenes, they fight those very same policies through industry associations, shadow groups, and lobbying – all while spending vast sums on advertising and PR campaigns touting their climate commitments. And they don’t do it alone. They’re aided and abetted by PR firms, ad agencies and business consultancies like McKinsey & Company.