For years, big oil companies (also known as Big Oil) have been doing their very best to defame and discredit environmentalists' attempt to create a greener source of energy.

Oil Rig
(Photo : ambquinn on Pixabay)

Because of the fear of making their main source of income obsolete, some, often with connections to the fossil fuel industry, strongly oppose taking stronger action on climate.

Many such detractors use common oil-industry talking points in their arguments. These points have been developed in collaboration with PR firms and lobbyists to undercut clean energy policies and prolong dependence on fossil fuels. They are also utilizing their social media reach to successfully push their agenda to weaken and oppose any meaningful legislation to tackle global warming.

A 2019 report by researchers at George Mason, Harvard University, and the University of Bristol describes how the fossil fuel industry deliberately misled the public by funding climate denial research and campaigns, all while knowing for decades that human-induced climate change exists.

Despite being aware of the science, the Big Oil are more afraid of the impact of shifting to renewable and more sustainable sources of energy might have on their companies. Oil executives are even alleged to be funding opposition research that "attacked consensus and exaggerated the uncertainties" on the science of climate change for many years with the goal of undermining support for climate action.

"What's really important to keep in mind is that part of the reason that oil and gas propaganda is so effective is that there is always a grain of truth to it," said Genevieve Guenther, the founder of End Climate Silence. This organization works to promote accurate media coverage of the climate crisis.

"I call it 'sort of true,' where there's something about the messaging that's true, but that grain of truth gets developed into a whole tangle of lies that obscure the real story," Guenther said.

According to her, there are three major tricks that Big Oil uses to subvert all actions regarding alternative energy, these are: claiming that climate action will hurt them financially, convincing people that there is a need for fossil fuels, and lastly, make people believe that climate change is not a big deal.

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Climate Action Will Hurt People's Pockets

Ted Cruz is arguing that climate activists are planning to destroy jobs, including thousands of manufacturing jobs. This is entirely false because building out clean energy infrastructure will create millions of manufacturing jobs in this country that can't be outsourced.

We "Need" Fossil Fuel

Oil and gas companies will try to make people believe that we need fossil fuels and that oil and gas companies should stay in business.

The truth is that, according to the US Energy Information Agency, in 2019 (the latest year for which full data is available), the US imported 9.14 million barrels of petroleum a day - half a million more than we exported. It's clean, safe energy sources like wind and solar that are sure to be domestically produced, not oil and methane gas.

Climate Change is "No Biggie"

Big Oil will try to do is to make people believe that climate change is not such a big deal. Either they call people trying to communicate the dangers of global warming "alarmists," or they simply don't talk about the climate crisis at all.

In their campaign of silence, they're aided by the vast majority of the broadcast news media, which mostly proceeds as if the crisis didn't exist and won't even mention the words "climate change" when they report on floods, fires, and hurricanes in which there are scientifically established links to global warming.

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