One can’t help but notice how BP, Shell and several other major oil companies love publishing scenarios which forecast how they are contributing to a ‘glowingly green’ future not only for the energy sector but for the entire world.
In recent years, they have even added their visions on how they believe climate change should be addressed, always claiming that their industry is consistent with everything outlined in the international 2015 Paris climate agreement.
However, in reality, these announcements have turned out to be little more than PR stunts.
In a recent study, published by PLOS One, they found mentions of climate-related keywords in oil company annual reports rose sharply from 2009 to 2020. For example, BP’s use of “climate change” went from 22 to 326 mentions.
Banks and investment companies are coming under increasing pressure to drop their financing of fossil fuels. In order to defend their continued investments, banks and investors are continually pointing at Big Oil’s climate change pledges.
However, the devil is in the details – or the lack thereof.
For example take the case of Brookfield, a Canadian asset manager that employs the former governor of the Bank of England Mark Carney as its vice chairman.
Last year, Brookfield announced that it was “net zero across its $575 billion asset portfolio”, only for it to be revealed that the company had in fact invested billions of dollars in fossil fuel projects, including a coal port and an oil sands pipeline.
The danger of these public relations propaganda statements (aka ‘GREENWASHING’) is that they can be hugely influential on the general public, and perhaps more importantly, they can act as a basis for crucial financial investment decisions made by companies/governments.
And there’s more to come.
In a new report commissioned by Friends of the Earth they sound the alarm on the newly-established Low Carbon Hydrogen Standard as being Big Oil’s next big greenwashing scam.
So we must ask the question, are these companies really compatible with the 2015 Paris Agreement?
Independent Study Finds Big Oil Guilty
Most of the future predictions being promoted by Big Oil show a continued reliance on fossil fuels. However gaps in reliable data and a lack of transparency make it difficult to compare them with any independent scientific assessments, such as the global reviews by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change.
However, in a study conducted by Nature Communications which was published on Aug. 16, 2022, their team analysed four of the Big Oil predictions plus a further two from the International Energy Agency. In their study they used a method they had specifically developed for comparing such energy predictions in head-to-head comparisons.
In the study they found that five of the Big Oil predictions – including those frequently cited by BP, Shell and the Norwegian energy company, Equinor ASA – were not consistent with the Paris Agreement objectives.
What the Paris Agreement Expects
The 2015 Paris Agreement, which was signed by nearly all member countries, sets out a new criteria to meet global climate change objectives.
One objective is to ensure that the global average temperature increase stays below 2 degrees Celsius (3.6 F) compared to pre-industrial era levels, and to pursue efforts to keep global warming under 1.5°C (2.7 F).
The Paris agreement also states that global emissions should peak as soon as possible and then reach a the target for net zero greenhouse gas emissions in the second half of this century.
“Net Zero” was supposed to be a straightforward idea – one that could be achieved with a healthy dose of spreadsheet politics, shifting a few numbers from one Excel column to another.
It made so much sense, that, the United Nations delegated the job of devising it to Mark Carney, the former governor of the Bank of England. After all it seemed a perfectly reasonable idea when some of the world’s biggest polluters – China, the United States, the European Union – had all announced strict timelines for when they aimed to be carbon neutral.
However in reality, these announcements have turned out to be little more than PR stunts.
It should be noted that indisputable scientific evidence now shows that overshooting 1.5°C target, even temporarily, would have very harmful longterm consequences for the global climate.
Because these consequences are not necessarily reversible it’s unclear how well people, ecosystems and economies would be able to adapt.
How Big Oil’s Green Washing Scenarios Perform
The nonprofit science and policy research institute Climate Analytics seems to have accurately grasped the full implications of the Paris Agreement in terms of both global and national decarbonisation together with the policies that countries need to take in order to cut their greenhouse gas emissions.
In particular, Climate Analytics have explored the roles that coal and natural gas will continue to play as the world attempts to transition away from fossil fuels.
When they analysed the energy companies’ decarbonisation (greenwashing) predictions, they found that BP’s, Shell’s and Equinor’s all overshoot the 1.5°C limit in the Paris Agreement by a significant margin.
In fact their research found that only BP’s had more than a 50% chance of subsequently lowering global temperatures down to 1.5°C by 2100.
In fact when assessed by the IPCC it was found that most of the ‘greenwashing’ propaganda currently being promoted by Big Oil and the energy companies actually shows a higher short-term use of coal and a long-term use of gas for electricity production than are compatible with the 2015 Paris Agreement.
Of six different scenarios Climate Analytics researched they determined that only the International Energy Agency’s Net Zero by 2050 summary maps out an energy future that is compatible with the 1.5°C Paris Agreement goal.
This is consistent with the criteria that Climate Analytics have used to assess Paris Agreement, and with the approach taken in the IPCC’s Special Report on 1.5°C, which highlights little or a very limited overshoot of the 1.5°C targets set out in the 2015 international agreement.
There are also very good reasons to doubt that decarbonisation is really the elites’ end goal. For all the talk of Net Zero, a recent study of $634 billion given in energy-sector subsidies in 2020 found that around 70% went to fossil fuels and only 20% went to renewable power generation. In 2021, support for fossil fuels actually increased compared to previous years.
Since the start of the war in Ukraine things have become even worse, with several European countries turning back to coal and even fracking in a desperate attempt to replace Russian gas supplies.
Meeting the 1.5°C goal will be challenging. The planet has already warmed about 1.1°C since pre-industrial times, and we are witnessing how people around the world are suffering with deadly heat waves, droughts, wildfires and extreme storms – all of which have been linked to climate change.
As countries everywhere are trying to transform their energy, agricultural and industrial systems in an endeavour to reach a net-zero level of greenhouse gas emissions, there is little room for ‘greenwashing’, dead-ends and/or Big Oil’s public relations propaganda.
What we need to do is retain the capacity to separate the reality of the problem from the establishment’s political use of the issue. There are several good reasons for decarbonising our economies; climate change is just one of them – and arguably not even the most important. Fossil fuels are incredibly polluting, causing millions of deaths every year. They also make us dependent on a handful of countries that actually produce most of the world’s fossil fuels.
So, moving beyond fossil fuels is fundamental, even simply from a geopolitical standpoint – and we mustn’t let Big Oil’s great green washing Net Zero lies and propaganda distract us from that.
The solution to the climate crisis stands right in front of us – but its being totally ignored by our political and financial elites. After all their primary goal isn’t remedying the climate crisis it’s more about protecting their profit and loss accounts.
Faced with such nefarious deceptions, it’s not surprising that many people around the world are starting to question the motives of the political and globalist elites; and in more and more countries, they are starting to let it be known that they have had enough.
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We leave you now with a tune from Abba – Money Money Money.
Peace and tranquility.
Author: Michael W