Jimmy Carter was a presidential anomaly. On his watch, departments were set up to fund electric-car development, solar energy, even research on a possible connection with the plastic in BPAs to cancer. Then boom — there's an actor in the White House who immediately cuts all of Carter's forward-thinking projects to reinvest in nuclear power plants and big oil. The lecture “Does ExxonMobil Rule the World?” has little to do with Carter, but seeing as how more than 30 years ago he was attempting to divest our dependency on fossil fuels, the question that's asked is distressing. ExxonMobil spends more on lobbying Washington, D.C., than almost any other corporation, and in many oil-rich countries has more policy pull than our own POTUS and his posse. Yet what do we really know about ExxonMobil? (Apart from that they're not BP, Shell or Lukoil, Russia's largest private company, which just created its own Deepwater Horizon-style mess in Trebs.) The New Yorker's Steve Coll, author of Private Empire: ExxonMobil and American Power, is one of the few outsiders who've cracked this oily black box. Tonight he spills the beans. Petersen Automotive Museum, 6060 Wilshire Blvd.; Thurs., May 10, 7:30 p.m.; free with reservation. zocalopublicsquare.org.

Thu., May 10, 7:30 p.m., 2012

LA Weekly