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Oil and Gas Industry Publicly Supports Climate Action While Secretly Subverting Process, New Analysis Shows

A new report recently released by InfluenceMap shows a number of oil and gas companies publicly throwing their support behind climate initiatives are simultaneously obstructing those same efforts through lobbying activities.

The report, Big Oil and the Obstruction of Climate Regulations, comes on the heels of the Oil and Gas Climate Initiative, a list of climate measures released by the CEOs of 10 major oil and gas companies including BP, Shell, Statoil and Total.

According to InfluenceMap the initiative is an attempt by leading energy companies to “improve their image in the face of longstanding criticism of their business practices ahead of UN COP21 climate talks in Paris.”

The big European companies behind the OGCI…will come under ever greater scrutiny, as the distance between the companies’ professed positions and the realities of the lobbying actions of their trade bodies grows ever starker,” InfluenceMap stated in a press release.

The group’s analysis shows a major disconnect between climate rhetoric and action among three key policy strands: carbon tax, emissions trading and greenhouse has emissions regulations.

The findings show companies like Shell and Total publicly support carbon pricing while at the same time support trade organizations that systematically obstruct the legislation’s implementation.

Oil majors BP, Chevron and Exxon also support these lobby groups but spend less time publicly supporting a price on carbon.

Dylan Tanner, executive director of InfluenceMap, said industry is becoming more cautious of public oversight and as a result, has become subtler with its efforts to subvert climate progress.

Companies like Shell appear to have shifted their direct opposition to climate legislation to certain key trade associations in the wake of increasing scrutiny,” Tanner said.

Investors and engagers need to be aware that these powerful energy and chemicals-sector trade bodies are financed by, and act on the instruction of, their key members and should thus be regarded as extensions of such corporate-member activity and positions.”

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