A report released Friday by Democrats on the House Oversight Committee has shown that major oil and gas companies have little intention of taking concrete actions to transition away from fossil fuels and toward clean energy solutions despite their public efforts to be seen as working to address climate change.
The committee reported that despite making climate commitments, Shell, Chevron, BP, and the American Petroleum Institute had all made significant investments in initiatives that would safeguard and entrench the use of fossil fuels.
Internal documents released as part of the report indicate that oil firms expect to see large returns on their investments in fossil fuels. One internal Chevron document shows that expanding oil production off the coast of Australia may generate up to a $200 billion return over the next 40 years.
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According to the report, the companies deliberately deceived the public about their plans and also attempted to thwart the Committee’s investigation and withhold key documents.
“These documents demonstrate how the fossil fuel industry ‘greenwashed’ its public image with promises and actions that oil and gas executives knew would not meaningfully reduce emissions, even as the industry moved aggressively to lock in continued fossil fuel production for decades to come — actions that could doom global efforts to prevent catastrophic climate change,” the committee wrote in the report.
According to Internal documents, some oil executives privately acknowledged that divesting or shifting the responsibility for emissions won’t have a significant impact on total emissions levels.
The report added that the major oil firms dodged responsibility and hindered the committee’s inquiry, which was initially started in September 2021, by refusing to cooperate with subpoenas for records issued by Rep. Carolyn Maloney, D-N.Y.
The report was released following the 2022 midterm elections when Democrats lost their majority in the House and their ability to manage House Oversight probes.
Story was adapted from NBC News.