WHen Royal Dutch Shell April Annual Environmental Report, Boasted a large investment in renewable energy. Oil giants have promised to install hundreds of thousands of charging stations for electric vehicles around the world to offset the harm caused by the burning of fossil fuels.
On the same day, shell issued Another report Last year’s largest donation to the Political Lobby Group revealed that it was made to the American Petroleum Institute, one of the most powerful industry groups in the United States to promote relations between the oil industry and Congress.
Contrary to Shell’s official statement in favor of electric vehicles, API CEO Mike Summers has rafted Joe Biden’s environmental measures, including a proposal to fund a new charging point in the United States. I promised to resist. He insists The “rush transition” to electric vehicles is part of “government action limiting Americans’ choice of transportation.”
Shell donated more than $ 10 million to the API last year alone.
And it’s not just the shell. Most other oil conglomerates, such as ExxonMobil, Chevron and BP, are also major funders, but their contributions have not been announced.
Deep financial ties are explained by politicians as the power and influence of APIs across the oil and gas industry, and the decisive role of trade associations in setting key obstacles to new climate policies and legislation. Is emphasized.
Critics have accused Shell and other major oil companies of using the API as an industry cover. Industry groups are working behind the scenes of Congress to stall or undermine environmental law while companies carry out promotional campaigns claiming to take climate emergencies seriously.
Exxon Lobbyist in Washington Earlier This Year Secretly recorded Greenpeace describes the API as the “boy of whipping” in the industry, keeping public and political criticism away from individual businesses.
Senator Sheldon Whitehouse, a Rhode Island Democrat and enthusiastic critic of Big Oil’s public relations tactics, said the API was “big” about the climate crisis to stall legislation to fight global heating. I’m lying on a large industrial scale. “
“The major oil companies and APIs are very tightly linked,” he said.
Whitehouse recognizes that the oil and gas industry is no longer “socially acceptable” to completely deny climate change, and companies are supporting new energy solutions that are less harmful to the environment. He said he was under pressure to claim that he was. But that does not mean that their claims should be taken at face value.
“The question of whether they are even honest about it, or whether this is just’climate is hoax 2.0′, is unknown at this time,” he added.
Shell said it continues to join the group’s board and executive committee to have a “greater positive impact” from the inside, albeit “inconsistent” with some of the API’s policies. Defended financing. Oil companies will operate APIs whose impact represents other stakeholders, such as about 600 drilling companies, refiners, and plastic makers, towards a final endorsement of the carbon tax earlier this year. Claims to have helped.
There are signs that the influence of the API may be diminished as members of the API are divided on how to respond due to the growing public awareness of the White House’s Biden and global heating.
French oil company Total left the group earlier this year because of climate policy. Shareholder rebellion is putting pressure on Exxon and Chevron to break away from dependence on oil. Shell’s top clean energy executive resigned in December because of the pace of change in the company.
API is also fighting More and more proceedingsArgued that the Minnesota-led trade group had been at the center of decades of “disinformation campaigns” on behalf of big oil to deny the threat from fossil fuels.
However, despite the threat to the perpetual impact of APIs, the Whitehouse claims that trade associations represent the true face of the industry. The API is working to slow the progress of the oil industry’s blessings, instead of using its considerable power to promote environmentally friendly energy legislation.
“Their political efforts at this point are purely negative and opposed to purely serious climate legislation, and many of them have been their mouthpieces for over a decade. We continue to fund fraudulent climate denialists, “said the White House.
The API has grown into a major political force with annual revenues of nearly $ 240 million since it was founded in 1919 in collaboration with the government during World War I in the oil industry.
Its board of directors comes from big oils such as Exxon’s chief Rex Tillerson, who became Secretary of Foreign Affairs Donald Trump, and Saudi Aramco’s chief Tofic al-Gabsani, a subsidiary of the giant state-owned Aramco. An oil giant that has been dominated by big names. Al Gabsani has also been registered as a lobbyist for the Saudi Arabian government.
The API has also hired professional lobbyists, including Philip Cooney. Philip Cooney served as chief of staff on the Environmental Quality Council until he was forced to resign in 2005 after falsifying the government’s climate assessment to downplay the scientific evidence of global warming. And to emphasize suspicion. Shortly thereafter, Cooney was hired by Exxon.
The API became unique when the reality of the climate crisis sneaked into public and political discourse and realized that the industry was defensive. An industry group that claims to represent companies that support 10 million jobs and nearly 8% of the US economy has played a central role in efforts to combat new environmental regulations.
APIs were often prepared to perform dirty tasks that individual companies didn’t want to be held accountable for. After each country signed the Kyoto Protocol in 1998 to help curb carbon emissions API has created a multi-million dollar disinformation campaign To ensure that “climate change is not an issue”. The plan said that “victory will be achieved” when “awareness of uncertainty becomes part of” conventional knowledge “.”
Much of this is the basis of some proceedings against the API. The first was submitted last year by Minnesota Attorney General Keith Ellison. He accuses the group working with ExxonMobil and Koch Industries of lying about the magnitude of the climate crisis. The proceedings, “a previously unknown internal document,” have been “false” to undermine climate science, although APIs and others have been well aware of the dangers for decades. Not only did he engage in a very effective public relations campaign. “
The city of Hoboken, New Jersey, has also sued the API, conspiring to join and fund a “front group” to carry out “deceptive advertising and communication campaigns that promote disinformation and denial of climate.” Claims to have attempted.
The proceedings funded scientists known for their APIs denying or underestimating climate change, and millions of seemingly independent organizations such as the Cato Institute and George C Marshall Institute denying or downplaying the growing environmental crisis. Claims to have given the dollar.
“The API is a member of at least five organizations that promote disinformation about fossil fuel products to consumers,” Ellison claims in a Minnesota case. “These front groups were formed to provide disinformation and advocacy for climate from seemingly objective sources when they were actually funded and controlled by ExxonMobil and other fossil fuel product sellers. it was done.”
That wasn’t always the case.
When Terry Yosie joined the API in 1988 as Vice President of Health and the Environment, trade groups spent years funding scientists to study climate issues after repeatedly hearing warnings. I did. In 1979, API and its members were called Climate energy A task force of oil and gas company scientists to share research.
Yosie, who moved from the Environmental Protection Agency to the API, managed a $ 15 million budget, some of which was held by EPA staff and other experts on climate change workshops.
“I want the industry to have some understanding of what other key stakeholders think about climate change, where they saw the problem evolving, and the information they depend on. He gathered them in front of senior executives in the oil industry with the sole purpose of doing so. “He said.
When Yosie left the API in 1992, he believed that the lobby group was still serious about dealing with the growing evidence of climate change. But a year later, Exxon abandoned one of the industry’s largest research programs for measuring climate change and at the same time disbanded the Task Force.
Yosie believes that in the face of the true extent of the oncoming disaster, APIs and oil companies were scared and instead chose to pursue the agenda informed by climate denialism.
“I think the industry as a whole has lost credibility as the climate issue has begun to shift from the periphery to the center. I’m afraid this wasn’t a winning argument,” he said.
API and its financial backers have set up a front organization, seemingly named the Global Climate Union, to boost evidence that the climate crisis was a hoax. In the late 1990s, GCC Chairman William O’Keefe was also Vice President of API, saying, “Climate scientists do not say that the burning of oil, gas and coal is steadily warming the planet.” Insisted incorrectly.
API and GCC have announced the Global Climate Science Communication Program, which led an attack on Bill Clinton’s support for the Kyoto Protocol and misrepresented the facts about global heating.
The relationship between API and big oil remained very close throughout. Exxon’s CEO has been a member of the Lobby Group’s executive committee for most of the last three decades, and the two have worked together to promote denialism against the climate crisis.
The focus of the API’s efforts was on Congress, which led to industry opposition to policies such as the 2009 Cap and Trade Act to control carbon emissions.
“Most of the Republican funding, and perhaps a significant amount of the large Dark Money funding behind the Republican Party, comes from the fossil fuel industry,” said the White House. Last year, API indirectly launched $ 5 million in campaigns by members of the Conservative Senate Leadership Fund and the Energy Committees of both Houses to support Republican election candidates, many of whom question climate science. Donated.
Increasing public unrest and the departure of oil-friendly Donald Trump from the White House have changed the foundation of the API. In March, we launched the Climate Change Framework and approved policies such as carbon prices for the first time. He also expressed his support for the Paris Agreement.
The API called the plan “robust,” but lack of detail and its integrity when Exxon lobbyists were caught by the camera earlier this year that carbon taxes would never occur and support for this measure was public relations. Some pointed out that was questioned. A ploy intended to stall more serious measures.
And the attitude of the industry itself among Shell executives who resigned because the API lost support from Total and the company considered it dragging more environmentally friendly fuel in December. There are signs of change.
Shell and BP say they will continue to consider API support. Shell said the company “pursues advocacy individually” if there is any disagreement with the API’s position.
But Peter Framhoff, director of science and policy for the Union of Concerned Scientists, is skeptical that there has been a major change in direction.
“API and its prominent member companies have a widely shared goal of continuing to operate social licenses in the oil and gas industry, thereby allowing them to continue to extract oil and gas for extended periods of time. It’s no exaggeration to say that it’s as beneficial as possible, “he said.
This story is published as part of Now cover the climate, Global collaboration of media outlets to enhance coverage of climate stories
How Powerful US Lobby Groups Help Big Oil Stop Climate Change Responses | Oil
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