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Author Topic: Fossil Fuels: Degraded Democracy and Profit Over Planet Pollution  (Read 12986 times)

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February 23, 2018

Big Energy Spends Billion To Avoid Climate Responsibility

A new report released yesterday by the 50/50 Climate Project looks at how 21 of the US’s largest utilities 🐉 and energy companies 🦕 🦖 are preparing for a future where low-carbon energy and fossil fuel regulations are the norm. The report finds that instead of managing these climate risks to protect shareholder value, companies are instead spending hundreds of millions on influencing elections and regulations.

Despite the existential threat posed by climate change and regulations to address it, these companies have done next to nothing to adapt their fossil-fueled business model. For example, 20 of the 21 companies highlighted in the report don’t even mention climate change in corporate governance documents. Six of them, including Scott Pruitt’s friends at Devon Energy, don’t even have a board-level environmental risk management function.

What’s more is that these companies are actively fighting against public protections. They’ve spent over $50 million to fight citizen initiatives for clean energy and greenhouse gas reductions, the report finds, putting them in direct opposition with voter-led ballot measures.

But this spending pales in comparison to the $673 million spent over the last six years on influencing policy and supporting candidates that are friendly to their dirty energy. The report finds that ExxonMobil, the company claiming in court that its actions are consistent with climate science, spent the most on political activity and lobbying with $96.9 million spent--beating out both Chevron ($95.1 million) and Southern ($88.6 million). Exxon also spent the most on PACs, so while the company is no climate champ, it’s definitely a leader in something...

And all that spending doesn’t even count the “dark money” given to groups like ALEC, the National Association of Manufacturers and the American Petroleum Institute (all three of which count ExxonMobil as a member.)

The report’s focus is on protecting shareholders by revealing information that these companies should be disclosing. After all, these companies operate with shareholder’s money--doesn’t that mean they should let them know what they’re doing with the funds? More importantly, shouldn’t companies disclose how planning to continue to provide profit for their shareholders in a carbon-constrained future?

Corporations may not really be people, but when they’re shielding information from their own shareholders, it’s hard not to think that they’re ashamed of their secretive and anti-democratic spending.

Imagine instead of lobbying to stave off regulations, energy giants used those millions of dollars to study the impacts of their products and then invested heavily in renewables. At a minimum, Exxon wouldn’t have to worry about #ExxonKnew, and maybe we’d instead be talking about how #ExxonGrew...

Hope deferred maketh the heart sick: but when the desire cometh, it is a tree of life. Pr. 13:12


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