Oil giant BP seems to be on a PR offensive at the moment. And in an apparent attempt to distract from its own massive role in global climate breakdown, it’s essentially lecturing ordinary people on how they can do more to reduce their impact.
BP searching for sympathy
Speaking at the One Young World conference in London, BP chief executive Bob Dudley said:
It isn’t the producers of energy only, it’s the users of energy. We’ve had generations of using energy… so we’re all part of the problem. …
We [BP] want to be part of leading this transition but we also work in places that have no energy so it’s going to take a little longer than people would like.
BP chief economist Spencer Dale, meanwhile, added:
I think the concept of looking for somebody to blame is not really the right way of thinking about this. It’s unhelpful. …
I think we’re [BP] part of the solution.
Dale, formerly chief economist at the Bank of England, insisted that people needed to recognise there were “two parts” to the problem. And he said:
we want to be known as progressive. But to make this happen I think that governments also need to step up.
BP also tweeted out a tool for ordinary people to check their carbon footprint. But renowned author Naomi Klein turned this on its head, revealing how citizens and their governments could really “step up” to reduce carbon emissions:
The first step to reducing *our* emissions is to sue and re-nationalize you, wind down your extractive projects and divert your last remaining profits to pay for a global #GreenNewDeal. We already know where we stand. https://t.co/mEMbs9hp6V
— Naomi Klein (@NaomiAKlein) October 23, 2019
Others on Twitter also tore into BP’s cynical PR by exposing its own terrible record:
According to 2017 Carbon Majors, you're 11th in the world for industrial GHGs, 1.5%.
Here's your carbon footprint 1988 – 2015, compared to literally the entire domestic emissions of all of Australia.
— Ketan Joshi (@KetanJ0) October 23, 2019
Until you are producing 100% renewable energy all your PR efforts are simply #greenwashing.
Public is more informed than your slick, tone deaf Advertising Agencies. Young Generation is being taught this stuff at school.
You need to move much, much more quickly.
— Themis (@LondonThemis) October 23, 2019
— Matthew Ward (@MattWard) October 22, 2019
Quite the ratio you've got developing here. Might it have anything to do with your massive hypocrisy perchance?
See this for details: https://t.co/SahuFMuzsG
— Anton Hunter (@HunterAnton) October 23, 2019
— Tom Allen (@geecologist) October 23, 2019
Just 100 companies responsible for 71% of global emissions, study sayshttps://t.co/thpt5703t4
— Do Nothing Savage (@OldRussetPotato) October 23, 2019
Fun fact: the ‘carbon footprint’ was first popularised by BP, who wanted to shift responsibility for the climate crisis onto individuals and away from the true culprits, corporations like…. BP! 💁🏼♀️ https://t.co/uVcbuzXUMN
— Labour for a Green New Deal (@LabGND) October 22, 2019
There are, of course, many things that we can all do to tackle the climate emergency. But that means nothing if we don’t take on the powerful corporations most responsible for the crisis. And that’s precisely why BP’s PR efforts backfired so spectacularly.
Featured image via Mike Mozart, with additional content via Press Association
We need your help ...
The coronavirus pandemic is changing our world, fast. And we will do all we can to keep bringing you news and analysis throughout. But we are worried about maintaining enough income to pay our staff and minimal overheads.
Now, more than ever, we need a vibrant, independent media that holds the government to account and calls it out when it puts vested economic interests above human lives. We need a media that shows solidarity with the people most affected by the crisis – and one that can help to build a world based on collaboration and compassion.
We have been fighting against an establishment that is trying to shut us down. And like most independent media, we don’t have the deep pockets of investors to call on to bail us out.
Can you help by chipping in a few pounds each month?