COP28: Don’t believe ADNOC’s spin over its new climate commitments

COP28: Don’t believe ADNOC’s spin over its new climate commitments

At the beginning of 2000s, as concerns about climate change grew, some of the biggest oil companies began to modify their climate change public relations strategies.

Instead of denying the evidence to sow doubt, they decided to try and spin their actions in more of a positive light. To try and co-opt the debate. They learnt their strategy from the masters of deception, the tobacco industry.

BP was the first to break ranks by changing its old tired logo to a Helios, a Greek sunburst, with its new strapline “beyond petroleum”.

BP never did go beyond petroleum, but the company had thrown a gauntlet down to the others to give the smokescreen of at least beginning to take climate change seriously.

By now, there was emerging scientific consensus that the world had to limit warming to 1.5 degrees if we wanted a liveable future. So four years later, in 2004, Occidental Petroleum quietly registered the website:

The concept of a fossil fuel company registering a website that mirrors the temperature rise the world is trying to limit itself to because of burning fossil fuels would be seen as deeply ironic by many. But not the deeply misguided leaders at Occidental.

As the oil industry expanded its production and still tried to obfuscate action on climate change, the website lay dormant for sixteen long years. And every year, our climate emergency has worsened.

Finally, in 2020, the website sprung into life. In October of that year, the website was launched, outlining in bold: “A Turning Point for Climate Change”. The website said the mission of the company was “Negative emissions”.It stated: “Oxy Low Carbon Ventures and Rusheen Capital have come together to drive change and jumpstart the Direct Air Capture industry around the world.”

Fast forward another three years, and this week, Occidental announced that it had signed an agreement with ADNOC, the Abu Dhabi National Oil company, to evaluate investment opportunities in the controversial technologies of Carbon, Capture and Storage (CCS), in both the UAE and the US.


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