Business, Economics and Jobs

New study claims US corporations take hypocritical stance on climate change


Oil executives testify before Congress. A new study found that what corporations, particularly the energy industry, said about climate change in public and what they did behind closed doors was often at odds.


Mark Wilson

Corporations that speak publicly about need to curb emissions work against the effort in private, a new study suggests.

The study by the Union of Concern Scientists looked at 28 companies that weighed in on the campaign in California to repeal laws limiting greenhouse gases.

They also chose companies that have given statements on the US Environmental Protection Agency’s finding that such emissions endangered public health, reported Businessweek.

The research, called “A Climate of Corporate Control,” found that despite publicly recognizing the scientific basis for climate change, most of the companies opposed climate science or supported political candidates that did.

"The thing we found most surprising in doing this research is just how all 28 companies expressed concern about climate change," said Francesca Grifo, of the Union of Concerned Scientists, reported the Guardian.

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"But when we took a deeper look we found that a lot of the actions they took weren't connected to the messages."

To better understand the companies’ positions the group looked through SEC filings, government testimony, comments to the press and information on their websites.

They also looked at funding given to think-tanks and trade groups.

Some companies were worse than others, according to the report.

The Los Angeles Times reported that Caterpillar fared badly as it has mostly backed climate-deniers in Congress and funds groups that lobby against greenhouse gas reductions.

It appeared that Nike, NRG Energy Inc., NextEra Energy Inc., AES Corp. and Applied Materials Inc. fared the best in the report with the most consistent message.