We recognize that human activity, including the burning of fossil fuels, is contributing to increased concentrations of greenhouse gas (GHG) in the atmosphere that can lead to adverse changes in global climate.
On the other hand, the company’s ratio of pro-climate to anti-climate contributions tells a different story. According to the Union of Concerned Scientist’s (UCS) new report, they spend over 15 times more on the anti-climate side.
“A Climate of Corporate Control” digs behind the corporate-responsibility rhetoric and finds the long arm of money that underlies the report’s subtitle: “How Corporations Have Influenced the U.S. Dialogue on Climate Science and Policy.”
UCS scrutinized 28 of the companies most engaged in climate change policy. Among other things, they examined the companies’ public relations materials, their annual reports, shareholder actions, congressional engagements, and funding to outside organizations. After analyzing the data, they categorized each company as Consistent, Contradictory, or Obstructionist.
ConocoPhillips ended up in the top third of the Contradictory category, which actually puts them in a better light than 17 other companies with lower rankings. Every company on the list has made public statements of concern about climate change, but only a handful (e.g., NRG Energy, NIKE, and AES Corporation) are backing up their pronouncements with action.
On the other hand, based on the information UCS was able to access, half of the companies misrepresented climate science in their public communications, and the majority of them found other ways to spread misinformation. They lobbied politicians, joined trade groups and funded conservative think tanks.
Francesca Grifo, director of UCS’s Scientific Integrity Program, said:
The actions of many of these companies come right from the tobacco industry playbook, where the end goal is delaying sensible regulations that protect our health and safety. Companies generally find that complying with new rules is not as burdensome as they first imagined. But that doesn’t prevent them from obfuscating the science to create confusion and delay.
Julie M. Rodriguez wrote a sobering post for Care2 Causes on March 29th: Scientists Warn Climate Change May Be Irreversible. She points out that the window for action is narrowing by the day, yet these and other corporations continue to undermine climate action around the globe.
The corporations on UCS’s list are only a handful of the companies destroying the environment and contributing to climate change. It is time for concerned citizens around the globe to take back the planet.
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