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Report accuses major corporations of pressuring government officials to reap billions of dollars in benefits: 'Deliberately lied about it'

The revelations are "outrageous but frankly unsurprising."

The revelations are "outrageous but frankly unsurprising."

Photo Credit: iStock

A bombshell report revealed that major corporations have actively fought against efforts by the government to create a cleaner environment.

What's happening?

The Guardian reported earlier this month that the oil industry has tried to combat government support for clean technologies "for more than half a century." An analysis reportedly uncovered that oil industry corporations have "lobbied lawmakers to block support for low-carbon technologies such as solar panels, electric cars and heat pumps as far back as the 1960s." Trade associations in the United States and Europe have put up a facade of being "technology neutral" while actually stifling green innovations and avoiding the harm done by burning their fuels.

If that wasn't bad enough, major companies have relied on government subsidies to support their business model. Dario Kenner, a visiting research fellow at the University of Sussex who "trawled through decades of public statements from the American Petroleum Institute (API) and FuelsEurope," told the Guardian that those companies continue to benefit from government support while fighting against cleaning up our planet.

"It's obviously hypocritical to call for technological neutrality when you are the dominant technology," he said.

Shira Stanton, a member of the campaign group Beyond Fossil Fuels, called the revelations "outrageous but frankly unsurprising" and called out these corporations for their dishonest practices.

"It has been proven that the fossil fuel industry caused the climate crisis and deliberately lied about it as they hid the science," she said. "So finding out that they knew renewable energy was such a threat to their industry that they had to lobby policymakers to rig the market against cleaner and cheaper technology to protect profits is just par for the course."

Why is this important?

Kenner reportedly uncovered "dozens of examples of the oil industry pressuring governments to hold back support for renewable energy, restrict funding for the development of clean technologies and weaken environmental rules that [favored] their uptake." Such companies have only minimally addressed the damage their fuels do to people and the planet.

While multiple corporations have claimed to invest in clean energy projects following increased pressure from climate activists, a report from the International Energy Agency in November revealed that oil and gas companies accounted for a measly 1% of clean energy investments. The IEA called the sector a "marginal force at best" when contributing to a cleaner environment.

"As part of trade associations and lobby groups, they have been deliberately trying to undermine the same technologies that people want them to invest in," Kenner said.

These practices are examples of greenwashing, which you can learn more about from this guide.

What can be done about this?

While the API and FuelsEurope claim to be committed to reducing fuel pollution, major corporations need to make more of an effort to clean up our planet.

The IEA report discovered that "oil and gas producers would have to spend 20 times more of the capital on clean energy — rising from 2.5% in 2022 to 50% in 2030 — to line up with the Paris agreement goal of keeping the planet from heating 1.5C (2.7F) above pre-industrial levels by the end of the century," per the Guardian.

You can make a difference by supporting policymakers committed to implementing clean technologies regardless of outside pressures from the corporate world.

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