The Progressive


A project of Common Dreams

For Immediate Release

Cassidy DiPaola,

Big Oil Lies: New Report Released In Advance of Congress' Big Oil Disinformation Hearings

Fossil Free Media’s new report exposes how years of Big Oil’s profiteering and greenwashing have led to climate denial and obscene profits


In advance of the House Oversight Committee's third hearing on Big Oil's role in climate disinformation, Fossil Free Media and the Stop the Oil Profiteering campaign released a brand new report exposing Big Oil's years of lies, climate denial and democratic obstruction.

On Thursday, September 15th, House Oversight Chair's Rep. Carolyn Maloney and Rep. Ro Khanna will hold a hearing to examine record-breaking profits from Exxon, Chevron, BP, and Shell, four of the world's largest publicly traded oil companies, investigate their so-called 'climate pledges', and hear from survivors of climate disasters. This will be the third hearing into Big Oil's role in climate disinformation and the first since Putin's unlawful invasion of Ukraine - an invasion which Big Oil used to their advantage in order to constrain supply, drive up prices, and gouge consumers.

The report, which asks the key question, "What is Big Oil really doing with all their money?", uncovers how top fossil fuel companies are using their obscene profits to pad the pockets of shareholders and CEOs, mislead the public with false advertising and junk science, interfere in policymaking at national and international levels; and wage deadly campaigns to evade liability and continue extracting fossil fuels.

"Big Oil's reckoning couldn't come a moment too soon. As this summer's catastrophic heat waves and record flooding make it clear, the impacts of the climate crisis are already being felt around the world, especially in Indigenous, Black, communities of the global majority and low-income communities," said Jennifer K. Falcon of Ikiya Collective and Fossil Free Media. "Our window to avoid utter chaos is closing rapidly."

In addition to Thursday's climate disinformation hearing, the House Natural Resources Subcommittee on Oversight and Investigations will meet Wednesday as part of its ongoing investigation of public relations firms' role in spreading climate change denial. In 2020 alone, the report details, oil and gas sector businesses shelled out $9.5 million in advertising that pushed misleading, pro-fossil fuel messages about how essential fossil fuels are to energy security, that these corporations are good for communities, and, most of all, that the industry is invested in climate solutions.

"Ever since the fossil fuel industry's own scientists realized the devastating climate consequences fossil fuels cause, Big Oil has poured their resources into deceit, denial, and delay," said Tejal Mankad, Fossil Free Media.

Big oil continues to lobby against climate action as well, the report finds. In 2021, the oil and gas industry poured over $115 million into political lobbying, accommodating a payroll of 746 lobbyists, one of whom was infamously caught on camera bragging about weekly meetings with Joe Manchin. This month, ExxonMobil responded to shareholder demands for better lobbying disclosure with a report showing that the company contributed up to $44 million in 2020 to trade associations, think tanks and coalitions including the American Petroleum Institute and US Chamber of Commerce.

The House Oversight Committee's hearings on Big Oil's role in the climate crisis draws on the precedent for what can occur when an industry knows and lies about the harmful impacts of its products.

"For years, the oil and gas industry has been able to erect a mountain of denial and disinformation to stand in the way of climate progress," said Cassidy DiPaola, spokesperson for the Stop the Oil Profiteering campaign. "But like Big Tobacco, Big Oil may soon have to pay for its abuses."

Fossil Free Media is a nonprofit media lab that supports the movement to end fossil fuels and address the climate emergency.