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Ph.D. student debunks common financial myth about clean energy: 'Millions of dollars directly influencing politicians'

"As if it leads anywhere other than the fossil fuel industry."

"As if it leads anywhere other than the fossil fuel industry."

Photo Credit: TikTok

Even though 99.9% of climate-related studies agree that human activities are making our planet unnaturally warm, there is still conspiratorial thinking surrounding the issue. 

Ph.D. student Rosh (@all_about_climate) is helping to cut through the noise in his recent video, which examines where the dirty energy sector is investing some of its money. 

@all_about_climate It doesn't lead where you might think.... #climatechange #fossilfuels #BigOil #climatecrisis #progressivepolitics #climateemergency #political #Shell #BP #corruption #environment #sustainable #science #IRA #education #explained #debunked #globalwarming #climateaction #climatechangeisreal ♬ original sound - Rosh

His clip, posted on May 2, comes after newly released internal documents shed light on the dirty energy sector's role in spreading climate disinformation to protect its bottom line, though Rosh doesn't directly address those findings. 

"It is so funny to me when people say, 'Follow the money,' with regards to climate change," Rosh says. "As if it leads anywhere other than the fossil fuel industry." 

To help demonstrate his point, Rosh (seemingly citing revenues) highlights how oil and gas giant Shell makes hundreds of billions of dollars every year. Even considering just profits, Shell made $28 billion in 2023, according to NASDAQ, and the company announced $7.7 billion in profits in the first quarter of 2024 alone.

In contrast, as Rosh explains, the climate research budget in the United States is roughly $10-15 billion. A fact sheet from the White House shows that NASA, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, the National Science Foundation, and other agencies received $4.5 billion for climate research last year, with climate finance hitting approximately $9.5 billion

Rosh notes that is "five times less" than the $68.9 billion budget for highway maintenance.

"So this idea that billions and billions of dollars are being funneled into climate research to secretly corrupt the data is ludicrous," he says, pointing his viewers to nonprofit Open Secrets

"You'll quickly find that the fossil fuel industry spends millions of dollars directly influencing politicians and lobbying against climate action," he says. "So the next time someone tells you to 'Follow the money' … maybe ask them if they have." 

"An important point to make. Well done, Rosh," one commenter responded.

However, there are organizations working to combat the immense power of the dirty energy lobby, like the Climate Action Network. Advancements in renewable energy technologies such as solar and wind and climate legislation like the Inflation Reduction Act are also paving the way for a sustainable future.

Meanwhile, another TikToker pointed out how some dirty energy giants have tried to rebrand as being more planet-friendly than they actually are, including when dealing with politicians. 

"As for the fossil fuel industry, they jumped on board the climate change bandwagon as a means of survival. They understand that [their] companies wouldn't survive."

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