Environmental lawyers, Client Earth, are calling for all fossil fuel advertisements to contain ‘tobacco-style’ warnings about the dangers of continuing to extract and burn fossil fuels.
BP has spent millions of pounds on its latest advertising campaign which suggests that the company is rapidly transitioning its business to low-carbon energy.
In the advert, BP claims that it is ‘working to make energy cleaner through the burning of natural gas.’ However, according to ClientEarth, 96% of BP’s annual spend to be being oil and gas, making BP the fifth most polluting fossil fuel company in the world.
ClientEarth argues that this advert, therefore, goes against the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) rules because the advert makes misleading and deceptive claims.
The lawyers are also calling for all advertising by fossil fuel companies to be banned unless it comes with a tobacco-style health warning about the dangers that fossil fuels are causing to the planet and people.
They are asking for all adverts to contain the IPCC’s warning about the dangers of continuing to extract and burn fossil fuels, which they say would ensure that the public is not being misled and that fossil fuel companies are being held accountable for the damage they do.
ClientEarth climate accountability lead Sophie Marjanac said: ‘BP is spending millions on advertising to give the impression that it’s racing to renewables, that its gas is cleaner, and that it is part of the climate solution.
‘In the past, tobacco companies were able to mislead the public about the safety of their products. 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.
In related news, legal action has been taken against Europe’s largest power plant, Belchatow in central Poland, announced environmental lawyers Client Earth yesterday (September 26).
Client Earth said they are taking on a lawsuit to hold the Belchatow coal plant owner, PGE GiEK, liable for environmental and climate harm under a Polish law that designates the environment as a ‘common good.’
The plant, whose annual emissions are roughly the total sum of New Zealand’s, has been in operation since 1988 and burns 45 million tonnes of lignite, the dirtiest form of coal, every year.
Photo Credit – ClientEarth