Daily Management Review

Oil lobby and the planet's future


According to the Influence Map report, the five largest oil companies are BP, Shell, Exxon Mobil, Chevron and Total. From 2015 until today, they have spent one billion euros to block or weaken climate change legislation. At the same time, they are in favor of switching to alternative energy sources.

After the governments of 195 countries approved the Paris Agreement on December 12, 2015, the international community took very few steps to flesh out and consolidate initiatives to reduce emissions. This unwarranted delay resulted from inability to find a solution that combined requirements of “developed” and “developing” countries. But that is not all. Negotiations on climate change, in fact, have been slowing down for already three years, including because of the constant lobbying that the largest multinational commodity companies systematically carry out.

Evidence of this intense pressure at the institutional level can be found in the Influence Map report of a British organization that tracked money in the industry and identified its purpose. It is about a billion euros spent from 2015 to today by the five largest oil companies - BP, Shell, Exxon Mobil, Chevron and Total. Italian La Stampa states that the money went to block or weaken legislation on climate change. In parallel, the press secretaries of these companies have publicly stated that corporations are positive about the gradual transition to alternative energy sources.

According to Edward Collins, who led the Influence Map report, “oil giants are key players in switching to alternative energy sources, and they put pressure to slow down, weaken or block effective climate policies”.

The largest oil companies show no special responsibility even when they face the proposal. They support only partial application of measures to protect the climate, and only on the basis of the market and new technologies. At that, the latest report of the UN Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change shows that we are already on the threshold of key changes. It is not enough to trust the market, it is necessary to take urgent measures and drastically reduce the use of fossil fuels to avoid dangerous climate change. The most serious consequences of global warming — drought, floods, floods, and atypical heat — will affect millions of people, causing billions of dollars in losses if the authorities fail to quickly take radical steps in climate change. As part of this strategy, investments will also be radically revised, and the most polluting sectors will be subject to regulation.

What is happening is just the opposite: the five largest companies that came to the attention of Influence Map received a profit of $ 55 billion in the last year. Almost all of it was received from oil and gas. In 2019, the firms plan to invest a total of 115 billion in the energy sector, of which only 3% are investments in projects related to reducing carbon emissions. The lobbying activities identified in the British report focus on specific goals in perfect accordance with their key business: to increase oil and gas production at sea and on land, to deny establishment of standards for methane emissions, to avoid emission taxes and to stop policies aimed at stimulate the transition to electric motors.

Knowing full well that today social networks are the most direct way to the public and a tool for creating a critical mass around ideas, Exxon spent 400,000 dollars in one month - and this is only in the United States - to pay for 360 publications. where the benefits of increasing fossil fuel production were emphasized.

“They publicly support the climate protection movement, while putting pressure on policy-making changes,” Collins said. “They support solutions to reduce carbon emissions, but the investments aimed at this have been reduced in order to expand activities in the fuel sector.” This strategy can be very costly for billions of people.

source: lastampa.it