DESMOGUK 23 April 2021: The Greenwashing Files – ‘A great deception’

23 April 2021 — DESMOGUK

Crashing waves, sun-bathed wind turbines, bright green algae farms. Also: women running up a steep hill, a newborn’s feet, a smiling scientist, a child in their father’s arms.

Emotive imagery of nature and family life are central to adverts made by some of the world’s biggest greenhouse gas emitters, all complete with softly spoken voice-overs about the net zero transition.

This week, DeSmog’s investigation with environmental lawyers ClientEarth exposed how these feel-good adverts fail to match up to the current reality of fossil fuel company activities. Rich Collett-White and Rachel Sherrington analysed hundreds of adverts for The Greenwashing Files, a major piece of work that was picked up by The GuardianCNN and Forbes, among others.

The analysis found that adverts by the likes of Shell, RWE, Saudi Aramco, and Equinor regularly highlight companies’ preferred solutions to climate change – including carbon capture and storage, experimental algae biofuels and investment in renewable energy sources – without being open about the small percentage of overall investment allocated to these technologies, or their viability.

ClientEarth lawyer Johnny White said the analysis showed the fossil fuel companies were involved in a “great deception”.

“These adverts are misrepresenting the true nature of companies’ businesses, of their contribution to climate change, and of their transition plans,” he said, adding that “we cannot underestimate the real world impact this advertising has on the pace of change.”

Read Rich Collett-White and Rachel Sherrington’s full story here

As always, we love feedback on the newsletter. If you have anything to say, please email editor@desmog.uk. Image credit: Giphy.

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NEW STORIES

Fossil fuel companies could face legal challenges over their misleading advertising, after a DeSmog investigation uncovered the extent of their “greenwashing”.

Environmental lawyers ClientEarth have put companies on notice with the publication of the Greenwashing Files. The analyses, which use DeSmog’s research, show how adverts of major fossil fuel companies and energy producers continue to over-emphasise their green credentials, giving the public a misleading impression of their businesses. Read more…

Labour and Conservative Councils Criticised Over £7.5 Billion Investments In Fossil Fuel Pensions

Local council pension funds in England controlled by the Labour and Conservative parties together hold £7.5 billion in fossil fuel shares, a new analysis has found.

Environmental campaigners Platform and climate consultancy Transition Economics ranked political parties according to their local council pension fossil fuel investments. Read more…

Stricter Air Pollution Laws Needed, Says Coroner in Ella Kissi-Debrah Inquest

A coroner is calling for national limits on air pollution to be reduced to match World Health Organisation (WHO) guidelines and made enforceable by law.

Inner South London Assistant Coroner Philip Barlow ruled in December last year that air pollution exposure contributed to nine-year-old Ella Kissi-Debrah’s death in February 2013. Air pollution had never been identified as a cause of death in the UK until this point. Read more…

Revealed: The Climate-Conflicted Directors Leading the World’s Top Banks

The majority of directors at the world’s biggest banks have affiliations to polluting companies and organisations, a DeSmog investigation shows.

The findings raise concerns over a systemic conflict of interest at a time when the international financial sector is under increasing pressure to stop funding fossil fuels. Read more…

How U.S. ‘Risk-Takers’ Took a Gamble on Somalia’s Oil — Then Vanished

A few days into the New Year, armed Somali intelligence officials were seen escorting guests into three bullet-proof cars at Mogadishu’s Aden Adde International airport.

Local and international media reported that two foreign companies were arriving in Mogadishu to sign a “secret” historic oil deal with the Federal Government of Somalia, the first agreement of this kind since civil war erupted in the country in 1991. Read more…

Understanding the Fossil Fuel Industry’s Legacy of White Supremacy

The New York Times published a story revealing how ExxonMobil and other oil companies had paid public relations firm FTI to build “news” and information websites falsely suggesting grassroots support for the fossil fuel industry and its initiatives. ExxonMobil, which didn’t speak with Times reporter Hiroko Tabuchi for the story, responded by trying to smear the messenger. “We refused to work with the author,” it tweeted, “because of her obvious bias against the oil and gas industry.” Read more…

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