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After multiple scandals revealed how the fossil fuel industry is actively lobbying to block climate action policy, a new initiative is fighting back. Launched by two American climate NGOs, the new $1 million ad campaign will draw attention to how big oil and gas firms like ExxonMobil are “putting profits over people”. It wants to push policymakers to no longer allow lobbyists to “get in the way” of the clean energy transition.
Two new adverts are being broadcasted on national television and digital in Washington DC, created by climate advocacy groups Accountable.US and Climate Power. The campaign, dubbed Polluters Exposed, will run the ads to confront policymakers about the “corrupt practices” used by the American Petroleum Institute (API) and its companies and allies to “protect their pocketbooks at the expense of American workers and families’ livelihoods.”
Every year, API spends $7.5 million on federal lobbying, campaign contributions—mainly to Republican politicians—to push policies that will benefit “their side, not the people’s,” says the initiative.
‘It’s time to end oil and gas influence’
The initiative will run two ads in total, titled Overtime and Exxon Lobby Scandal. Both will spread awareness about the active and ongoing attempts by big oil and gas companies to cover up their polluting operations, spread climate disinformation and lobby against environmental regulations. It’ll bring attention to the ways the industry is “putting profits over people”.
“It’s time to end oil and gas CEOs’ influence and expose their attempts to stand in the way of addressing climate change,” says the campaign.
The Exxon Lobby Scandal ad focuses on Greenpeace’s recent undercover investigation, which exposed the firm’s “behind the scenes” campaign to lobby against any laws to restrict plastics or PFAS known as forever chemicals. In the videotape, a senior federal relations executive at the oil giant also revealed the company’s plan to prevent the Biden administration from achieving its environmental targets, from clamping down on plastics to the shift to renewables.
‘Exposing their lies and deception’
Under growing public and investor pressure, fossil fuel giants have been making progressive statements about how they’re going full-throttle to clamp down on their emissions. But the Polluters Exposed ads show how many firms are continuing to work against climate action policies privately.
“Oil and gas executives have been caught lying, polluting and spending billions to cover it up,” said Lori Lodes, executive director of Climate Power.
“They pretend to support climate action but behind the scenes the Oil and Gas lobby will do whatever it takes to stop progress that would make communities safer and cut pollution in neighborhoods living in the shadow of toxic pollution from fossil fuels.”
In March, a Guardian investigation exposed how oil firms were aware of the dangers that fossil fuel burning posed to human health for at least half a century. These include grave illnesses such as birth defects and asthma in children.
“We are exposing their lies and deception so they can no longer get in the way of our opportunity to build a clean energy future,” said Lodes.
Fossil fuel execs are lining their own pockets
Meanwhile, the Overtime ad focuses on how top executives at dirty energy companies are still ramping up prices and hurting consumers’ pockets while lining their own.
“Oil and gas companies simply cannot be trusted when they say they can’t afford to help consumers with lower gas prices or that the Biden administration’s critical efforts to address the climate crisis are hurting their bottom line,” explained Kyle Herring, president of Accountable.US.
“The evidence shows nothing could be further from the truth,” Herring continued, citing the massive salary increases that top executives at oil and gas firms received.
Lead image courtesy of Polluters Exposed.