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Massive lobbying group creates multimillion-dollar ad campaign to influence 2024 election: 'Energy is on the ballot'

"The agenda now is no longer denial, but delay."

"The agenda now is no longer denial, but delay."

Photo Credit: iStock

As the 2024 U.S. election approaches, the oil and gas industry is gearing up to make its case to voters.

The American Petroleum Institute (API) just launched a multimillion-dollar advertising campaign to promote expanded oil and gas development — and to take on the Biden administration's climate policies. API represents nearly 600 corporations involved in production, refinement, distribution, and many other aspects of the petroleum industry,

What's happening?

API's new Lights On Energy campaign, which the group's CEO Mike Sommers told Fox Business will be "an eight-figure" national TV and digital ad blitz, portrays the oil and gas industry as vital to the economy and key to reducing greenhouse gas pollution.

The messaging focuses heavily on natural gas as a less-polluting alternative to coal for electricity generation.

"One of the biggest things that we can do for the environment is to send more U.S. [liquefied natural gas] overseas to displace coal, and to help cut global greenhouse gas emissions," Sommers said at API's annual State of American Energy event.

"Americans are going to go to the polls, and energy is on the ballot. Jobs are on the ballot; American security is on the ballot; manufacturing is on the ballot. They all depend in some way on energy."

However, the campaign glosses over the climate risks of methane leaks from natural gas infrastructure. It also criticizes President Biden's policies as too restrictive on carbon and methane pollution, while notably not challenging the need to address air pollution directly.

Why is the API's campaign concerning?

Many environmental experts see API's campaign as simply repackaging the group's long-term strategy of delaying meaningful climate action.

"The agenda now is no longer denial, but delay," climate scientist Michael Mann told Inside Climate News. "Anything they can do to delay meaningful decarbonization of our energy infrastructure."

While supporting "cutting emissions" in the abstract, Mann says that API opposes most tangible policies to accomplish those reductions, like restricting drilling on public lands or reevaluating permits for new liquified natural gas export terminals.

Experts argue that a rapid transition away from natural gas is essential to limit carbon pollution to relatively safe levels. The U.S. and other top carbon-producing nations are already on track to extract far more oil and gas than is compatible with the Paris Agreement's targets.

What can I do to help?

As API floods airwaves and social media feeds with natural gas-friendly messaging, we can respond by elevating the facts:

  • Rapidly phasing out carbon pollution is crucial to preventing increasingly dangerous climate impacts. Half-measures won't cut it.
  • Clean energy technologies like wind, solar, and electric vehicles are readily available, increasingly affordable alternatives to oil and gas.
  • Energy efficiency and conservation are also key climate solutions that save money. Consider having an energy audit done on your home to identify opportunities.

Most importantly, make your voice heard. Let your elected officials know that you want to see them supporting a swift, just transition to an economy powered by clean energy. Together, we can build a safer, more sustainable future for ourselves and the planet.

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