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Oil giants ‘greenwashed’ image while hampering climate action

Say US lawmakers

Published : 10 Dec 2022 09:51 PM | Updated : 11 Dec 2022 01:56 PM

Oil giants have "greenwashed" their public image while locking in fossil fuel production for years to come, potentially foiling moves to prevent climate change, said a US House committee memo released Friday.

The document follows an investigation on allegations that the fossil fuel industry has been misleading Americans about its role in the climate crisis, and hampering actions on climate change.

"Today's documents reveal that the industry has no real plans to clean up its act and is barreling ahead with plans to pump more dirty fuels for decades to come," said Carolyn Maloney, who chairs the Committee on Oversight and Reform.

Companies know their climate pledges are "inadequate," but are prioritizing profits over the costs of climate change, she added.

"We cannot tackle the climate crisis until we tackle the climate disinformation crisis," Maloney said.

The memo added that despite promises that fossil fuels are part of the transition to cleaner energy sources, "Big Oil is doubling down on long-term reliance... with no intention of taking concrete actions to transition."

It cited an excerpt of a presentation to Chevron's board of directors which said that while competitors retreated from oil and gas, the company's strategy is to continue investing in fossil fuels to take advantage of consolidation in the industry.

Meanwhile, an internal email from lobbying group the American Petroleum Institute was said to show its 2021 climate action framework was organized around the aim of "continued promotion" of natural gas.

Executives have also admitted privately that they have adopted a strategy to "resist and block" climate regulations and only cut emissions if it made commercial sense, the memo said.

The House of Representatives committee launched its investigation in September 2021.

Criticism against the industry has intensified in recent months, with officials accusing oil giants of taking advantage of the energy price hike after Russia's invasion of Ukraine to extract profits rather than raising their investment in clean energy.

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