Oil and gas giants’ persistent lobbying hinders global energy shift, study finds

Oil and gas giants currently invest less than 3% into renewables.

This is according to a new report from InfluenceMap, which analysed historical engagements by influential oil and gas industry groups such as the American Petroleum Institute (API), FuelsEurope, and Fuels Industry UK, and identified more than 50 instances where these associations actively lobbied against green technologies, dating back over five decades.

The goal, according to the report, has been to oppose, weaken and delay the adoption of renewable energy and electric vehicles (EVs), despite growing scientific consensus on the urgent need for climate action.

Key findings highlight three narratives used by these industry groups. First, “Solution Skepticism” has persisted for 56 years, casting doubt on the efficacy of renewable energy sources and emphasising uncertainties.

Second, “Policy Neutrality,” in use for 34 years, advocates for minimal government intervention and instead promotes market solutions and consumer choice.

Third, “Affordability and Energy Security,” active for 51 years, posits fossil fuels as essential for maintaining cost-effective and secure energy supplies, framing alternatives as risky.

The report underscores that these narratives, which often contradict science-aligned policies recommended by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), continue to influence public discourse and policy-making.

Uplift’s founder and executive director Tessa Khan said: “This report shows that even faced with mounting scientific evidence over decades, the oil and gas industry have pushed ahead with a damaging messaging strategy they developed as early as the 1960’s.

“It shows the crucial need for increased awareness of the delaying tactics of fossil fuel companies from policymakers if they are to successfully drive the energy transition forward at the pace we need.”

The ‘Dual advocacy’ strategy

Moreover, the report highlights that major energy companies have adopted a ‘dual advocacy’ approach in navigating climate policy, raising questions about the alignment of these lobbying efforts with the interests of member companies.

For instance, Shell and Exxon’s financial statements reveal that they paid API between $10 and $12.5m in annual membership fees, while Chevron paid between $5m and $7.5m.

Concurrently, Shell has publicly demonstrated support for the electrification of light-duty vehicles and the phase-out of internal combustion engine (ICE) vehicles.

The situation reflects what analysts describe as a “dual advocacy” strategy, where companies simultaneously align with global climate goals while maintaining support for fossil fuel exploration and development, in line with oil and gas associations’ advocacy.

The International Energy Agency (IEA) recently revealed that oil and gas giants are currently investing less than 3% into renewables, while continuing to invest billions of dollars into fossil fuels.

Related article: Major Oil Firms Fail to Align with Paris Agreement Goals (edie.net)

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