We’ve all seen and heard of the push to do away with fossil fuels. I mean, it’s everywhere, from the White House to your local public library. Going “green” is in.
Now, naturally, this all stems from scientific studies, data, etc., that tell us that our planet’s atmosphere is slowly changing. And if it changes enough, it could no longer support life here on Earth, or at least not life as we know it.
And so, we must adjust.
Number one on the to-do list is to turn away from fossil fuels like crude oil, natural gas, and coal. Instead, we need to find other ways to heat our homes, keep the lights on, and fuel our preferred transportation methods.
Enter the age of electric vehicles, solar panels, and wind turbines.
But as you may have heard or even experienced, these options are still fairly new and, therefore, have a number of issues that cause problems. For example, wind turbines can freeze up in cold temperatures. Solar panels can become covered with snow and ice. And electric vehicles don’t hold a charge for nearly as long as a gas tank provides.
But still, the push continues.
And big oil companies are unsurprisingly at the head of it all. You see, while these companies certainly still provide the world with gasoline, kerosene, and diesel fuels, they know the value of getting in on the green movement. After all, they will have to switch their methods of providing energy in the near future if they are to stay relevant and useful to their customers.
You might have already even seen this transition yourself.
An analysis from a London-based energy and climate think tank known as InfluenceMap found that some 60 percent or more of advertisements from five of the world’s largest oil and gas companies promote “green” or low carbon activities.
However, the think tank also discovered that all this advertising might just be a front to appear more liberal, more earth-friendly, and greener.
This was surmised after looking at where these companies were actually putting their money.
For companies such as ExxonMobil, Shell, Chevron, BP, and TotalEnergies, only an average of 12 percent of their spending went towards more renewable or low carbon endeavors.
Now, for those like Shell, that number is rising. In 2021, data shows that the oil giant spent about 10 percent of its capital expenses on renewable energy. This year that is up by two percent. Additionally, it is noted that it does not count investments such as EV charging, biofuels, and sustainable aviation fuel, which are not part of its Renewables and Energy Solutions division.
Other companies, such as Exxon, claim their number will rise, too. A spokesperson for the company told CNN that they are currently “investing more than $15 billion between now and 2027 on lower-emission initiatives” and that their “greener” investments should triple by 2025.
Still, InfluenceMap notes that the inconsistencies between how much is advertised and how much is spent on green energies are great.
Of course, a Shell spokesperson says that it is only normal, as they will have to advertise their green energy activities a lot before most consumers will trust them enough to buy into them. Naturally, as consumer use of those activities increases, so will spending.
But InfluenceMap isn’t so sure.
In particular, this is because four of the five companies mentioned above are actually spending and “engaging policymakers directly to advocate for policies encouraging the development of new oil and gas.”
You see, while everyone is pretty much on board with the idea that crude oil and most of its products are “fossil fuels” and, therefore, harmful to the environment, there are more than a few who are less convinced when it comes to what we call natural gas or propane. And for energy companies, that means that they act like fossil gas is actually a “low carbon solution.”
Of course, there is also the fact that the world still needs oil and gas and will for years to come, as most renewable energy sources aren’t to the point of sustaining our energy needs yet.
So, the next time you see a green energy ad, know that it might not be all it seems.