Home Science & Technology How fossil fuel companies overpromise but fall short of climate goals

How fossil fuel companies overpromise but fall short of climate goals


InfluenceMap is an independent research group dedicated to analyzing how business and finance affect the climate crisis. In 2019 it is prepared the report called “Big Oil’s real climate change agenda,” which revealed that the world’s largest fossil fuel companies have spent $1 billion since the Paris climate accords were signed to lobby for climate change policies. Three years later he returned with an updated report. Here’s what he had to say:

“This latest report compares and contrasts the public communications, business operations and political engagement of the 5 ‘Super Big’ oil companies: BP, Shell, Chevron, ExxonMobil and TotalEnergies.

“Extensive analysis shows that the five supermajors are spending hundreds of millions of dollars each year on a systematic strategy to present themselves positively and proactively in the face of the climate change emergency. This turned out to be incompatible with the companies’ plans for capital investment in their business. It was also found to be inconsistent with the detailed engagement policies of the companies and their industry associations on climate change.

“In 2021, of 3,421 public communications materials from five companies, 60% contained at least one environmental claim, while only 23% contained claims promoting oil and gas. Statements about companies’ support or participation in the energy transition were by far the most popular type of green statements.

“None of the companies assessed disclosed the strategies that inform their public communications about climate change, as well as the resources dedicated to related activities. Using a cost estimate based on the number of communications and media company employees, InfluenceMap’s analysis suggests that companies spend about $750 million each year collectively on climate-related communications activities.

“In contrast, only 12% of the five companies’ capital expenditure (CAPEX) in 2022 is forecast to go towards low-carbon activities. Additionally, none of the supermajors’ projected oil production meets the International Energy Agency’s goal of net zero emissions by 2050 (as of Q4 2021), and several companies plan to increase oil and gas production between 2021 and 2026.

“At the same time, InfluenceMap found that none of the companies had aligned their climate policy activities with the goals of the Paris Agreement and maintained a dense and global network of industry associations around the world that are very active against Paris Aligned. climate policy

“The obtained data raise serious and ongoing questions for regulators and shareholders of companies, as well as for PR and advertising agencies, media and social networks that cooperate with companies. It is noted that this analysis focuses on the companies’ primary corporate communication channels and thus focuses on their North American/European communications. Future research will focus on how companies communicate in the Global South.”

Readers can download the data supporting the new report by visiting the InfluenceMap links at webpage for its 2022 report.

Fossil fuel companies are gaming the system

“Essentially, we found that big oil companies are spending millions of dollars on this green PR, and it’s really a systematic campaign to portray themselves as climate advocates,” says Faye Holder, InfluenceMap’s program manager. Guardian. “But at the same time, they’re still lobbying for fossil fuel use and investing in a really unsustainable energy future with high oil and gas and very low-cost low-carbon activities.”

None of the “About Us” pages on the companies’ websites described them as oil and gas companies, Holder says. “The best example, I think, was BP — on their ‘Who We Are’ page, they only mention the word ‘oil’ twice. And it’s at the bottom of the page, in the section called “Our Story,” where they describe how they’ve always been an energy company that’s been transitioning from coal to oil and gas to this low-carbon future. So it’s really clear that they want to distance themselves from oil and gas and join the climate agenda.”

Reaction to the InfluenceMap 2022 report

Reaction to the latest report was immediate. Here are responses from two climate advocates (you can see more at InfluenceMap web page):

“The time has come to act against climate misinformation. The InfluenceMap report sheds light on the staggering amount of misinformation being spread by some of the world’s biggest polluters. This report shows how far oil and gas companies are willing to go to mislead citizens and protect their interests. But protecting the environment from their harmful actions is in our interests. We urgently need change—more transparency, labeling and fact-checking, and real consequences for repeat offenders. — Gwendolyn Delbas-Corfield, Member of the European Parliament.

“Investors are already seeing that there is a gap between companies’ climate promises and their actions, most notably capital expenditure on decarbonisation. This study by InfluenceMap provides further proof that companies aren’t putting their money where their mouth is. Investors want to see companies actually commit and plan for a transition to net zero emissions, not greener emissions. It’s time for companies to live up to their claims.” — Laura Hillis, Director of Corporate Engagement at Investor Group on Climate Change

As expected, fossil fuel companies reacted negatively to the report. Shell disputed the findings, saying InfluenceMap failed to account for low-carbon businesses that are part of its marketing department. These include electric vehicle charging and low-carbon fuels, as well as a joint venture in Brazil with a bioethanol producer. The company previously said more than 35% of capital spending in 2022 would go to low-carbon energy, as well as “non-energy products.”

“We’re already investing billions of dollars in low-carbon energy,” the spokesperson said Guardian. “To help change the mix of energy that Shell sells, we need to grow these new businesses quickly. This means letting our customers know through advertising or social media what low carbon solutions we offer or are developing so they can switch when the time is right.

“The world will need oil and gas for many years to come. Investing in them will ensure we can deliver the energy people can still rely on, while lower-carbon alternatives expand.”

This was reported by the press secretary of TotalEnergies guard, “Our public communications policy reflects TotalEnergies’ transformation into a multi-energy company. As evidence of this, the InfluenceMap report publishes a forecast that TotalEnergies is the leader among the supermajors in terms of capacity based on renewable energy sources.’

An ExxonMobil spokesman said: “ExxonMobil continues to reduce emissions from its operations and has met its 2025 emissions reduction plans four years ahead of schedule. This progress supports the company’s more aggressive plans to reduce emissions by 2030 and its ambition to achieve net zero GHG 1 and 2 emissions from operating assets by 2050. ExxonMobil is investing more than $15 billion between now and 2027 in initiatives to reducing emissions, and we expect to triple investment by 2025.”

Astute readers will notice that this Sphere 3 emissions arising from the burning of fossil fuels, which is largely responsible for the warming of the planet, and Exxon conveniently does not address them. In addition, the so-called low carbon fuel are not the panacea the fossil fuel industry likes to paint them as.

Fossil fuel takeaway

Archives of Art CleanTechnica filled with articles explaining how the fossil fuel industry likes to talk out of both sides of its mouth. One of the most exciting describes the industry’s plans 195 so-called “carbon bomb” projects. that would quickly exceed the remaining carbon budget that climate scientists say Earth must adhere to to avoid catastrophic changes that would endanger all of humanity.

Yesterday we reported on the sudden rise of misinformation on the internet about charging of electric vehicles and the grid. Shell, Exxon, and others may not directly fund such nonsense, but they do so indirectly by funding pressure groups such as the American Petroleum Institute, the US Chamber of Commerce, and others.

It is clear that they are in words to the idea of ​​a zero-emission world while lining their pockets with money from selling their climate-killing products. They will never change. The only way to beat them is to make them financially irrelevant by switching to zero-emissions transport and power generation as quickly as possible.

The “Kodak moment” for the fossil fuel industry can’t happen soon enough for Earth and everything their people.


Appreciate CleanTechnica’s originality and clean tech news coverage? Consider becoming a CleanTechnica member, supporter, technician or ambassador — or patron on patreon.

Don’t want to miss out on clean tech history? Subscribe to daily news from CleanTechnica by e-mail. Or follow us on Google News!

Have a tip for CleanTechnica, want to advertise, or suggest a guest for our CleanTech Talk podcast? Contact us here.


Previous articleWhy does it rain so much over tropical land?
Next articleHow effective are they in changing behavior?