Oil Firms Spend Millions On Climate Lobbying

The world's five largest publicly owned oil and gas companies spend approximately $200 million every year on climate lobbying.

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The world's five largest publicly owned oil and gas companies spend approximately $200 million every year on climate lobbying—controlling, delaying, or blocking binding climate-motivated policy. In the wake of the Paris Agreement, that has created problems for governments implementing policies that are vital in meeting climate change targets. Companies are generally reluctant to disclose their lobbying expenditure figures. Using a methodology focusing on the best available record along with intensive research of corporate messaging, InfluenceMap was able to estimate different companies' inflience on inittiatives to halt climate change. 

BP spends the most on climate lobbying every year with $53 million, ahead of Shell's $49 million and ExxonMobil's $41 million. Chevron and Total each spend about $29 million annually. According to InfluenceMap, part of the lobby spend goes towards sophisticated efforts to engage politicians and the general public on environmental policies that could impact the usage of fossil fuels. A recent example cited in the report is BP's coordination of messages across its social media channels and advertising platforms that reframe the climate crisis as a "dual energy challenge."

The five countries listed support their lobbying expenditure with a spend of $195 million per year on branding activities. This suggests they support action on climate change with the most common tactics drawing attention to low carbon, positioning the company as a climate expert and acknowledging climate concern while ignoring solutions. The report said that the campaigns are misleading the public given that the companies in question are continuing to expand their oil and gas extraction activities. In fact, only 3 percent of spending from the companies is directed to low carbon projects. The report's findings were rejected by Shell and Chevron who both reinforced their commitment to the reduction of greenhouse gases and the fight against climate change.

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