New study confirms clean energy commitments from oil giants are nothing more than greenwashing

"Oil and gas companies talk like they care about the climate, but they keep drilling and polluting with complete disregard for the damage they cause."

Image Credit: Vuk Valcic / SOPA Images / LightRocket / Getty Images

A new study confirmed oil giants have yet to back up their clean energy commitments with real life actions. The peer-reviewed study, which was published in the journal, PLOS One, found that “[companies’] transition to clean energy business models is not occurring, since the magnitude of investments and actions does not match discourse.”

“Until actions and investment behavior are brought into alignment with discourse, accusations of greenwashing appear well-founded,” the researchers from Tohoku University and Kyoto University in Japan said.

According to the study, it “collected twelve-years of quantitative and qualitative data to examine if BP, Chevron, ExxonMobil and Shell are decarbonizing and shifting from fossil fuels to clean energy” and evaluated this data from three perspectives: discourse, business strategies, and investments. But the conclusion was fossil fuel companies have yet to “significantly” move away from the fossil fuel products driving the climate crisis.

As lawsuits against Big Oil continue to pile up, Congress is investigating “the fossil fuel industry’s long-running campaign to spread disinformation about climate change and greenwash its role in causing global warming.” Board members from the four major oil companies are being asked to testify before Congress on March 8. This is the third hearing in the past five months as part of the U.S. House Committee on Oversight and Reform’s investigation into Big Oil’s role in climate change.

“This study confirms what observers have always known about Big Oil’s climate pledges: they’re all hot air,” Richard Wiles, president of the Center for Climate Integrity, said. “Oil and gas companies talk like they care about the climate, but they keep drilling and polluting with complete disregard for the damage they cause.”

The attorneys general of Connecticut, Delaware, Massachusetts, Minnesota, Rhode Island, Vermont, and the District of Columbia, as well as 20 city and county governments in California, Colorado, Hawaii, Maryland, New Jersey, New York, South Carolina, and Washington, have filed lawsuits against Big Oil and Gas to hold these companies accountable for “continued pollution, insufficient corporate pledges, and spreading of climate disinformation.”

“The oil and gas industry’s deception has now landed these companies in front of Congress and in courtrooms across the country,” Wiles said. “Polluters cannot and should not be trusted to help solve the very climate crisis they knowingly caused.”


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