Fossil fuel adverts ‘should be banned’ unless they have a tobacco-style warning about their contribution to climate change, campaigners claim
- ClientEarth claims oil giant BP is misleading customers with its TV adverts
- Charity is advocating a ban on fossil fuel ads or ‘tobacco-style’ warnings
- A total of 96 per cent of BP’s business remains dedicated to fossil fuels
Adverts for fossil fuels should be banned, or forced to carry tobacco-style warnings, according to an environmental charity.
ClientEarth, a charity with a reputation for taking legal action on defence of the environment, says oil giant BP is misleading customers in its TV adverts.
It alleges that the firm is trying to ‘greenwash’ viewers with images of wind turbines, electric cars and solar panels while the vast majority of its business remains focused on fossil fuels.
BP, the firm responsible for spilling almost five million barrels of oil into the ocean during the Deepwater Horizon disaster, ‘strongly rejects’ these claims.
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ClientEarth, a charity with a reputation for taking legal action on defence of the environment, says oil giant BP is misleading customers in its TV adverts (stock)
ClientEarth says BP portrays itself in its advertisements as a forward-thinking firm that is ‘part of the climate solution’.
In actuality, 96 per cent of the multi-billion dollar company’s business remains in oil and gas, the charity states.
For every hundred pounds it spends, only four of them go towards low-carbon investments.
The complaint from the eco-focused charity specifically mentions BP’s ‘keep advancing’ and ‘possibilities everywhere’ campaigns.
Instead of allowing firms that are heavily reliant on fossil fuels to issue what it deems to be disingenuous content, ClientEarth is advocating a ‘tobacco-style’ system intended to expose the damage caused by fossil fuels and subsequent greenhouse gases.
The complaint is being submitted to the Government’s UK National Contact Point, the organisation responsible for altering guidelines for ads.
ClientEarth climate lawyer Sophie Marjanac said: ‘BP is spending millions on an advertising campaign to give the impression that it’s racing to renewables, that its gas is cleaner, and that it is part of the climate solution.
‘While BP’s advertising focuses on clean energy, in reality, more than 96 per cent of the company’s annual capital expenditure is on oil and gas.
‘According to its own figures, BP is spending less than four pounds in every hundred on low-carbon investments each year. The rest is fuelling the climate crisis.’
‘We see real parallels with fossil fuel companies and the tobacco industry, which knew about the risks their products posed but used misleading marketing campaigns to sell them regardless.
‘Make no mistake, this is a climate emergency. You only need to see the increase in extreme weather events around the world – from flooding in the UK, to wildfires in the US and Australia.’
The complaint comes as greenhouse gas emissions are predicted to increase slightly in 2019, resulting in a new record high, primarily due to the increasing popularity of natural gas and oil.
ClientEarth says BP portrays itself in its advertisements as a forward-thinking firm that is ‘part of the climate solution’. In actuality, 96 per cent of the multi-billion dollar company’s business remains in oil and gas, the charity states (file photo)
In its annual analysis of fossil fuel trends, the Global Carbon Project said CO2 emissions were on course to rise 0.6 percent this year.
In a statement, BP told MailOnline: ‘We have not seen this complaint, but we strongly reject the suggestion that our advertising is misleading.
‘BP has clearly said that the world is on an unsustainable path and must do more to reduce emissions. We support a rapid transition of the world’s energy system.
‘BP is of course well known as a major oil and gas producer. We are also committed to advancing a low-carbon future.
‘So one of the purposes of this advertising campaign is to let people know about some of the possibilities we see to do that, for example in wind, solar and electric vehicle charging, as well as in natural gas and advanced fuels.’
DEEPWATER HORIZON OIL SPILL
The Deepwater Horizon disaster took place on April 20, 2010, and led to the death of 11 workers
The rig blew on April 20, 2010, killing 11 workers, and spewed 172 million gallons of oil into the Gulf through the summer.
It is regarded as the worst environmental catastrophe in US history.
Scientists are still trying to figure where all the oil went and what effects it had.
The BP drilling rig exploded in April 2010, killing 11 workers and spewing about 72 million gallons of oil into the Gulf through the summer
BP was suspended from performing any new government work in America in November 2012, after it agreed to plead guilty and pay a $4.5billion fine (£2.8billion) for criminal charges over the Deepwater Horizon disaster.
The disaster left lingering oil residues which have altered life in the ocean by reducing biodiversity in sites closest to the spill.
In a recent study, researchers took sediment samples from shipwrecks scattered up to 150km (93 miles) from the spill site to study how microbial communities on the wrecks changed.
On two shipwrecks close to the source of the the plume of oil – the German U-166 submarine and a wooden 19th-century sailing vessel – scientists saw a visible oil residue.
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