Exposing Big Oil’s Campaign of Lies

Methane scam: :

There is a widespread narrative in the fossil fuel industry that so-called “natural gas” or methane is a clean energy source that will be a transition fuel as the world transitions to renewable energy. However, methane is 84 times more potent than carbon dioxide and travels throughout the supply chain. Despite publicly promoting the gas as clean, internal BP documents revealed in an investigation that in 2016 the company was confident that “the gas did not support climate goals, given methane emissions.” At the same time, BP was developing plans to “develop and protect the role of gas – and BP – in the energy transition.” This investigation clearly shows that the fossil fuel industry has no intention of using gas as a “bridge fuel.” The industry is working to position gas as a necessary replacement for renewable energy, rather than a bridge fuel. Internal documents show that BP was willing to spend $1.1 million in the first year of a campaign “highlighting the role of gas as a friend of renewable energy sources”, which was prepared in March 2018.

The fossil fuel industry’s efforts to position methane as a “friend of renewables” are not without consequences. Senator Ben Ray Luján spoke about the consequences of methane emissions for his constituents in New Mexico, explaining that satellite imagery has revealed a methane cloud over New Mexico due to emissions from oil and gas activities in the Permian Basin. The senator said that despite public commitments by fossil fuel companies to reduce methane emissions, methane plumes in the state continue to worsen, resulting in poor air quality and disease.

Trading in fake solutions: :

In 2008, BP, Exxon and Shell announced plans to research and develop algae as a biofuel. Although untested at the time, the announcements signaled that major fossil fuel companies were finally committing to finding low-emission fuel alternatives. More than a decade later, these plans have turned out to be greenwashing programs designed to illustrate a commitment to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. As the report stated: “As of 2023, all companies have ended their algal biofuel programs.”

The report examines Exxon’s algae program in detail. Exxon spent almost $175 million advertising its algae research, while it spent only $350 million developing the advertised algae technology. Exxon’s internal communications reveal that employees were warned against posting any marketing materials that might suggest that algae biofuels are close to scalable. One of Exxon’s documents titled “Algal Biofuel Program Discussions” openly admits that investment in the algal biofuel program is far behind the level needed to bring it to market: “ExxonMobil’s analysis found that the final development and the company’s widespread use of algae-based biofuels would require future investments of billions of dollars.”

Dark money in academic institutions

According to the report, “six fossil fuel companies, including BP, Chevron, Exxon and Shell, spent an estimated $700 million on academic research programs between 2010 and 2020.” Institutions receiving funding from the fossil fuel industry tended to publish research that was more favorable to methane than to renewable energy. These companies have spent millions of dollars influencing some of the country’s leading academic institutions, including the Harvard Kennedy School, Princeton University, Tufts University, the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), and the University of California (UC) at Berkeley. These are just a few of the more than 80 academic institutions that have received funding from the fossil fuel industry in recent years. Internal Shell communications revealed plans to “embed” Shell scientists at the University of California (UC) at Berkeley, where Shell spent more than $25 million over five years to fund the university’s Biosciences Institute.

Time for responsibility

We have known for years that the fossil fuel industry is responsible for blocking climate action and waging campaigns that cast doubt on climate science – the same climate science that its own scientists have confirmed as accurate. This hearing revealed even more findings that document their fraud in the public record, but to what end? Ms. Sharon Eubanks, former Director of the Tobacco Litigation Task Force at the U.S. Department of Justice, stated in her testimony before the Senate Budget Committee that: “Frankly, Big Oil is the new Big Tobacco.”

Senator Bernie Sanders asked Ms. Eubanks to consider under what legal basis the fossil fuel industry could be held accountable for knowingly misleading the public about the fossil fuel climate catastrophe. In response, Ms. Eubanks stated that the provisions of the federal RICO statute (the Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations Act) could apply and that “conspiracy is a good claim worth looking at.”

Senator Sanders then asked, “If you were Attorney General of the United States, would you pursue this?”

Mrs Eubanks replied: “I would. Yes. “No questions asked.”

Big Oil has lied for decades and continues to actively conduct fraudulent campaigns and work to block the transition to renewable energy. They infiltrate our economic institutions, lie to lawmakers and the public, and even pressure journalists to kill stories that show the truth about fossil fuels and methane. It’s time for Big Oil to answer for its role in perpetuating a fossil fuel economy that is destroying communities, ecosystems and our climate.