Top oil and gas companies spend millions every year lobbying to control climate change policies in their favor. According to a new report, these are the five largest stock market listed companies that spend nearly $200m (£153m) to delay, control or block policies related to tackling the climate change.
ExxonMobil, Chevron, and BP were primarily leading in the matter of direct lobbying, pushing against the climate change policies that were meant to tackle global warming as per the report.
These companies were successfully pushing their agenda using more and more social media by weakening or going against any meaningful legislation that tried to address global warming.
As per the report published on Friday by InfluenceMap, last year in the run-up to the US midterm elections, $2m was spent by global oil giants along with their industry bodies on targeted ads in the Facebook and Instagram to promote the benefits of increased production of fossil fuel.
The research also shows that BP separately donated $13m(out of which $1m spent on social media ads)for a campaign that Chevron supported and stopped a carbon tax in the state of Washington successfully.
The author of the report, Edward Collins analyzed the spending by the corporate on lobbying, briefing, and advertising, and assessed the proportion that was dedicated to climate issues.
He said: “Oil majors’ climate branding sounds increasingly hollow and their credibility is on the line. They publicly support climate action while lobbying against binding policy. They advocate low-carbon solutions but such investments are dwarfed by spending on expanding their fossil fuel business.”
Although the large integrated oil and gas companies said to have supported a price on carbon while forming groups like the Oil and Gas Climate Initiative and promoting voluntary measures post-Paris Agreement 2015, there is a glaring gap between their words and their actions as stated in the report.
The five publicly listed oil companies like ExxonMobil, Shell, Chevron, BP and Total currently spend about $195m a year on branding campaigns suggesting that they are in support of action against climate change.
However, these campaigns were misleading the public regarding the extent of the actions of the oil companies. While endorsing the need to act publicly, they are investing highly for the massive expansion of oil and gas extraction. In 2019 out of their increased spending to $115bn, only 3% would be directed at low carbon projects, said the report.
Shell said in a statement: “We firmly reject the premise of this report. We are very clear about our support for the Paris agreement, and the steps that we are taking to help meet society’s needs for more and cleaner energy.”
“We make no apology for talking to policymakers and regulators around the world to make our voice heard on crucial topics such as climate change and how to address it.”
Chevron said it disagreed with the report’s findings. “Chevron is taking prudent, cost-effective actions and is committed to working with policymakers to design balanced and transparent greenhouse gas emissions reductions policies that address environmental goals and ensure consumers have access to affordable, reliable and ever cleaner energy.”
Whatever may be the fact, the success of lobbying coupled with direct opposition of the oil companies to the existing policy measures aimed at addressing global warming has been the main reason behind the delay in the government efforts globally to implement policies in order to reach climate targets set in the 2015 Paris agreement and keep global temperatures below 1.5C.