On April 22, people all around the world celebrate Earth Day – a day to look outward at the state of our planet, and inward at the life choices we make and the consequences of our actions. It’s also a day for dirty fossil fuel companies and the institutions that fund them to pull their best PR folks into a room and say “Listen, we know we’re causing the climate crisis and funding the destruction of our planet, but how about a nice tweet today about how ‘green’ we are?”
Greenwashing is when companies either make something sound better for the environment than it actually is, or over-emphasize their green credentials, giving the public a misleading impression of their businesses. Or in the words of Fridays For Future activist Dominique Palmer at the Global Just Recovery Gathering, it’s “straight up lying”.
— 350 dot org (@350) April 9, 2021
Environmental lawyers at ClientEarth have just published files that indicate that “some of the world’s biggest fossil fuel companies have used advertising to “greenwash” their ongoing contribution to the climate crisis”. The files compare the adverts produced by ExxonMobil, Aramco, Chevron, Shell, Equinor and others with the companies’ operations and products, overall climate impact and progress toward climate-safe business models. ClientEarth is “calling on policymakers to ban all fossil fuel company ads unless they come with tobacco-style health warnings about the risks of global heating to people and the planet.”
All of this is extremely harmful and attempts to block real climate action that requires the end of the fossil fuel industry. So, to do our part today, we are going to share with you some of the ‘cringiest’, tone-deaf, misleading greenwashing attempts of this year’s Earth Day in the hopes that you too will call out this climate mis-information.
First off, Total looking for a place to capture the carbon they are pumping into the atmosphere.
🌍 We’re working hard to avoid and reduce 📉 our emissions to achieve our ambition to get to net zero by 2050. In addition, Total is developing natural carbon sink activities 🌱🌳 to capture CO2 ⤵️. pic.twitter.com/5bqyVjLMnW
— Total (@Total) April 20, 2021
And this honest evaluation of Total taking one imaginary step forward, and 200 major steps back with the East Africa Crude Oil Pipeline
Then there is no reason for @Total to engage in oil exploration and the construction of the East Africa Crude Oil Pipeline (EACOP) because this means fueling the destruction of the planet and worsening the already existing climate disasters in the most affected areas.' #StopEACOP https://t.co/skr7sKs4ma
— Rise up Movement (@TheRiseUpMovem1) April 12, 2021
Maybe don’t tweet about any fossil fuels on the anniversary of the biggest oil spill in history?
Marking a significant step in our efforts to reduce emissions, we’re aiming for zero routine flaring in our US onshore operations by 2025. Learn how our new Grand Slam facility in Texas helps: https://t.co/EJmyaGwlnl pic.twitter.com/RpyemjBInf
— bp America (@bp_America) April 19, 2021
Regina George agrees.
The irony of marketing gas as green and sustainable whilst also greenwashing with climate targets to reduce flaring because gas is problematic… 🤦 #FUBPDay https://t.co/kD9Yktddvp pic.twitter.com/XkdpBwqENf
— Chelsea | She/Her (@LWPBdotnet) April 20, 2021
Could we reduce emissions even more by keeping fossil fuels in the ground in the first place? Yes, Exxon. We could.
Could we help reduce emissions in a major industrial manufacturing corridor? We think it’s possible, and carbon capture and storage will play a key role. We’re proposing a novel concept, starting with the Houston Ship Channel. Learn what CCS can do: https://t.co/r9tPFq0Bvo pic.twitter.com/tWrJR50D2p
— ExxonMobil (@exxonmobil) April 21, 2021
These are just a few of the many attempts that will be made over the next few days to distract us from the fact that burning fossil fuels remains by far the biggest single contributor to the climate crisis. Just 20 fossil fuel companies who relentlessly dig up and sell coal, oil and gas, are responsible for one third of all greenhouse gas emissions. They have also pushed governments to not take strong action on climate change in favour of their own profits.
If you want to learn more about the reality of the climate crisis and what we can do to halt it, read about our theory of change.