Advertisements from fossil fuel firms with tobaccolike health warnings
According to the environmental law charity ClientEarth, many of the world’s biggest fossil fuel companies have used advertising to “greenwash” their impact on the climate crisis.
ClientEarth compares adverts produced by a range of companies with their overall climate impact and progress toward climate-safe business models.
Saudi Arabia’s Aramco said it conducted business “in a way that addresses the climate challenge”, yet it is the world’s largest corporate greenhouse gas emitter and plans to continue exploring for more oil and gas, despite having reserves greater than those of Exxon, Chevron, Shell, BP and Total combined. Shell said it was investing in “lower-carbon biofuels and hydrogen, electric vehicle charging, solar and wind power”, yet in 2020 it earmarked $17bn for fossil fuel operations, but just $2bn to $3bn per year for low-carbon businesses. Equinor has talked of increasing its renewable capacity tenfold by 2026, but renewables are planned to make up just four per cent of its energy mix by that date.
“We’re currently witnessing a great deception, where the companies most responsible for catastrophically heating the planet are spending millions on advertising campaigns about how their business plans are focused on sustainability,” stated Johnny White, one of the lawyers at ClientEarth.
The lawyers are urging policymakers to ban all fossil fuel company advertisements unless they are presented with tobacco-style health warnings about the risks of the climate crisis to people and the planet.
Source: The Guardian and ClientEarth, April 19th 2021