disinformation, denial and greenwashing
Intentional efforts by a number of companies and organizations have created barriers to meaningful climate action. From lobbying to creating junk science websites, a panoply of coordinated activities have sown the seeds of doubt in the minds of many and effectively wasted decades. Social scientists have been studying these efforts, who funded them and how they continue to block and delay action on climate change and steer research away from anything that might jeopardize the hegemony of the fossil fuel industry.
In May, 2021 the Trustees of Princeton announced that the University would “create an administrative process to determine what expert input is needed to establish, implement and sustain actionable criteria for dissociation from fossil fuel companies participating in campaigns that spread disinformation about climate change.”
However in September 2022 they announced that climate disinformation is too hard to evaluate quantitatively and the University has a “commitment to embracing the vigorous exchange of ideas”. This position ignores the extenisve scholarship on the subject and allows the University to continue its relationships with companies like BP and Shell, despite extensive evidence that they participated in, and continue to participate in, disinformation, denial and greenwashing.
New Jersey AG sues Big Oil - October 2022
On October 18th, 2022, New Jersey became the 8th and largest state to file a lawsuit in state court seeking to hold major fossil fuel companies accountable for causing climate change. The suit alleges that oil giants Exxon Mobil, Shell, Chevron, BP and ConocoPhillips, along with the powerful industry group the American Petroleum Institute, are liable for damages to the state caused by global warming. It also charges that the companies committed fraud by failing to warn the public about the dangers of unchecked carbon emissions. Read more here.
Emily Atkin July 2023 Al Gore has turned the corner
Geoffrey Supran and Algorithmic Transparency Institute, September 2022 Three Shades of Greenwashing
Robert Brulle, April 2022 Advocating inaction: a historical analysis of the Global Climate Coalition
Divest Harvard, November 2021 Beyond the Endowment: Uncovering Fossil Fuel Interests on Campus
Corporate Accountability, Global Forest Coalition & Friends of the Earth International, June 2021 The Big Con: How Big Polluters are advancing a net zero climate agenda to delay, deceive and deny
John Cook, Geoffrey Supran, Stephan Lewandowsky, Naomi Oreskes, Ed Maibach 2019: America Misled: How the fossil fuel industry deliberately misled Americans about climate change
Ben Franta 2021: Early oil industry disinformation on global warming
Barnard University 2018 Fossil Fuel Divestment and Climate Action Methodology
Oxford Martin Principles for Climate Conscious Investment 2018
Ben Franta 2020: The Pernicious Influence of Big Oil on America’s Universities
Ben Franta 2018: Early oil industry knowledge of CO2 and global warming
Naomi Oreskes & Erik M. Conway 2010: Merchants of Doubt
Geoffrey Supran & Naomi Oreskes 2017: Assessing ExxonMobil's climate change communications (1977–2014)
Center for American Progress, Jennifer Washburn 2010: Big Oil Goes to College
ExxonMobil 2019 Worldwide Giving Report pages 9 -15, pages 19-22, pages 24-27
Scholars at Brown for Climate Action Advancing Brown's Response to the Climate Crisis
"Money and Power at Princeton: What we see and what we don't."
2/9/2021 Donors Fund Climate Denial: How Princeton’s Money Trail Undermines Its Own Research. Daily Princetonian.
2/8/2021 What do you get for a donation to Princeton?. Daily Princetonian.
2/7/2021Where is our Princeton Forward?. Daily Princetonian.
Graphic design by Ashley Chung