The twelve largest European oil companies are misleading the public about their readiness to reduce their own harmful impact on the climate through a gradual transition to renewable energy sources. This is the conclusion of an analysis commissioned by Greenpeace for Central and Eastern Europe (Greenpeace CEE).
The analysis commissioned by Greenpeace CEE and conducted by oil market expert Dr. Steffen Bukold reveals that despite the green rhetoric, fossil fuel companies are investing pocket change in green energy. In doing so, they engage in greenwashing and promote inefficient technological solutions in the fight against climate change, while genuine efforts towards decarbonization are lacking, claims Greenpeace.
The report, titled The Dirty Dozen: The Climate Greenwashing of 12 European Oil Companies, analyzed the annual reports for the year 2022 of six global oil giants (Shell, TotalEnergies, BP, Equinor, Eni, and Repsol) and six European oil and gas companies (OMV, PKN Orlen, MOL, Wintershall Dea, Petrol Group, and INA Group).
The report showed that a “paltry” 0.3% of the total energy production from these 12 companies comes from renewable sources.
Moreover, a mere 7.3% of the investments made by these twelve companies in 2022 were allocated to green energy, amounting to EUR 6.57 billion. In contrast, 92.7%, or EUR 81.5 billion, were spent on fossil fuel projects, and even the expansion of the fossil fuel business, said Greenpeace.
For every euro invested in renewable energy sources during 2022, the analysis indicates that EUR 13 were invested in fossil fuels.
In February this year, while oil and gas companies reported record profits that increased by an average of around 75% during the energy crisis in 2022, BP suddenly announced a reduction in its climate ambitions. A few months later, TotalEnergies followed suit, and then Shell did the same, Greenpeace stressed.
According to the analysis, BP, Equinor, Wintershall Dea, and TotalEnergies reduced their investments in low-carbon and renewable products during 2022 compared to 2021.
Greenwashing, without clear strategies for decarbonizing the fossil industry
Instead of aiming to transition towards renewable energy production or investing in low-carbon technologies, oil companies are focusing their strategic planning on carbon capture and storage (CCS) technologies and carbon offsetting. These approaches are very controversial and their effectiveness in reducing emissions is questionable, according to Greenpeace.
The organization states that the oil business intentionally undermines climate-saving efforts by using a “cocktail of green rhetoric” (greenwashing), promoting CCS, or carbon offsetting. To this, they add “deceptive diagrams of their own priorities and activities, as well as partial result disclosures to obscure reality,” according to Greenpeace.
Greenpeace: The vast majority of oil companies intend to either maintain or even increase oil and gas production until at least 2030.
According to the conclusions drawn from the analysis, the fossil fuel industry lacks nearly every aspect of actions required to become a protagonist, or at the very least a neutral observer, in the global energy transition and climate protection.
Despite the fact that the majority of the twelve analyzed companies have publicly expressed their commitment to achieving the net-zero emissions goal by 2050 and continue to assure the public of their investments in renewable energy sources, none of them have developed a meaningful strategy to achieve that goal. The report concludes that a significant majority of them intend to either maintain or even increase oil and gas production until at least 2030.
Greenpeace is urging governments to impose strict regulations on the sector’s operations
Greenpeace highlights the need to create a clear and binding plan for the gradual phase-out of oil and gas across all of Europe, starting with the transportation sector which accounts for two-thirds of oil consumption in the EU. The report states that regulatory measures must also include commitments to invest in “truly green infrastructure.”
A binding plan for the gradual phasing out of oil and gas throughout Europe is essential, which includes a commitment to invest in genuinely green infrastructure
Greenpeace has been concluded that governments must cease support for fossil fuel companies and instead implement stringent regulations while initiating the development of a plan to phase out fossil fuels. The report emphasizes that oil companies “will not change on their own.”