On 22 August, Greenpeace published a new report accusing major European gas and oil companies of doing nothing to transition towards cleaner energy. Significantly, the campaign group said that fossil fuel corporations are “just pretending” to be working towards their climate commitments.
‘The Dirty Dozen’
The report analysed the 2022 annual reports of 12 of the largest fossil fuel and energy companies in Europe. Entitled ‘The Dirty Dozen’, it listed data from six international oil majors based in Europe. These included climate criminals Shell, TotalEnergies, BP, Equinor, Eni, and Repsol.
Alongside these, it reviewed the activities of six national oil and gas companies that the group suggested “play a central role in the energy transition in their European home markets”. These included OMV (Austria), PKN Orien (Poland), MOL (Hungary), Wintershall Dea (Germany, subsidiary of BASF), Petrol Group (Slovenia), and Ina Croatia (Croatia).
In particular, the report noted that:
Contrary to public perception, wind and solar power production by big oil companies is still surprisingly low.
The analysis found that in 2022 these energy majors generated only 0.3 percent of their total production through renewables. The remaining 99.7 percent came from oil and gas production. On top of this, Greenpeace highlighted that there is a “one-sided fossil dominance of investments”.
Specifically, the group identified that the companies funnelled 92.7% of investments towards their fossil fuel operations in 2022. Conversely, they directed just 7.3% towards sustainable energy and low-carbon power production.
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The report’s findings chimed with a recent study in the journal Nature Climate Change. The study evaluated the production plans of the world’s largest coal, oil and gas companies. As the Canary reported, the research found that if fossil fuel majors maintain their current production levels, the world will far overshoot 1.5°c of warming.
Fossil fuel-driven heatwaves and wildfires
Greenpeace campaigner Jakub Gogolewski told Agence France-Presse (AFP) that the report revealed how:
European companies are not transitioning at all, they are just pretending
The campaign group’s report comes as Europe is yet again locked in the grip of record-breaking heatwaves. Moreover, multiple countries across Europe continue to battle devastating wildfires. As the Canary has previously explained, greenhouse gas emissions – and the climate crisis more generally – have “super-charged” these deadly extreme-weather disasters.
Senior extreme heat advisor at the UN’s World Meteorological Organization (WMO) John Nairn has warned that heatwaves will:
only get more intense and more frequent.
Speaking to AFP, Nairn said that the only way to rein in the rampant heat is to:
electrify everything… and stop burning fossil fuels. It’s not harder than that.
Given the stakes, the European fossil fuel majors’ deliberate failure to transition is unconscionable. However, it is not remotely surprising. Fossil fuel majors have a history of moral vacuity: time and again they put profit above people and the planet. For instance, French fossil fuel firm TotalEnergies is developing a destructive oil pipeline project that is decimating communities throughout Uganda.
Greenpeace has also recently named and shamed TotalEnergies and OMV over a decaying oil tanker in Yemen. The abandoned oil-filled vessel has posed a huge risk to the livelihoods of coastal communities in the region. A potential spill would also decimate the fragile ecology of the biodiverse Red Sea. Naturally, the European fossil fuel companies failed to fork up funds to finance a UN emergency operation on the tanker.
Consequently, Gogolewski argued that:
You cannot let these companies self-regulate… that’s why we ask the governments to step in for the well-being of the citizens, because self-regulation in the industry does not work
In other words, you can’t put fossil fuel companies in charge of the greenhouse. Invariably, as the Greenpeace report powerfully articulated, their relentless pursuit of profit means that they only know how to turn up the heat and set the world on fire.
Additional reporting via Agence France-Presse
Feature image via Weixi Zeng/Wikimedia, cropped and resized to 1910 by 1000, licensed under CC BY-SA 3.0Support us and go ad-free
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