In a groundbreaking study released on Sunday, InfluenceMap, a non-profit think tank dedicated to providing objective analysis on the environmental impact of companies and financial institutions, sheds light on concerning disparities between corporate advocacy on carboncapture and established scientific principles.The comprehensive analysis scrutinized more than 750 instances of corporate engagement related to carbon capture and storage (CCS) between 2021 and 2023, encompassing over 500 major global companies and 250 industry associations.
The study’s lead researcher, Sofia Basheer, a senior analyst at InfluenceMap, expressed the shift in focus from undermining public trust in the science of climate change causes to sowing confusion about climate change solutions.
Key Findings of the Study:
Scientific Misalignment: Over 80% of corporate engagements on CCS do not align with the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change’s (IPCC) Science-Based Policy guidance. These engagements fall into two categories: indiscriminate promotion of CCS without scientific alignment and explicit efforts to impede the transition from fossil fuels.
Dominance of Oil, Gas, and Utility Sectors: 58% of all advocacy on CCS comes from oil, gas, and utility companies, utilizing various tactics such as public relations, advertising campaigns, and regulatory lobbying. Major players include Occidental Petroleum, ExxonMobil, Shell, BP, Santos, and Cenovus, alongside influential industry associations like the Australian Energy Producers, International Association of Oil and Gas Producers (IOGP), Canadian Association of Petroleum Producers (CAPP), and American Petroleum Institute (API).
Conflicting claims with science: Corporate CCS advocacy often conflicts with science, with recurring claims promoting oil and gas expansion, positioning CCS as central to global climate targets, and touting CCS as beneficial for job creation and community support.
Coordinated playbook in oil and gas Sector: The analysis reveals evidence of a coordinated playbook shared among global oil and gas sectors, led by industry groups such as the Australian Energy Producers, IOGP, CAPP, and API.
Global alignment with fossil fuel companies: Sixteen G-20 countries have adopted positions on CCS similar to fossil fuel companies in the run-up to the COP 28 Summit, indicating successful industry influence on government positions.
The study emphasizes the limited role of CCS in achieving net-zero energy systems, as highlighted by the IPCC. It also cautions against the fantasy of continuing business-as-usual for oil and gas while relying on widespread carbon capture to cut emissions, as stated by Fatih Birol, executive director of the International Energy Agency.
In addition to these findings, InfluenceMap’s analysis exposes corporate advocacy tactics undermining established science, including lobbying for substantial tax breaks to commercialize CCS at the expense of alternative decarbonization pathways.
Sofia Basheer warns, “If governments fail to agree on a science-based plan to achieve net-zero, and fossil fuels persist, the oil and gas industries will have won a major victory.”