French fossil fuel giant Total is leading a full-scale lobbying offensive to promote gas, including unconventional gas from fracking, as a solution to climate change. It is doing so with underhand and dirty tactics such as taking over two of the main renewable energy trade associations in Europe. Pushing for gas will only lock Europe into fossil fuel dependency –– whilst misdirecting investment away from the community-owned renewables and improved energy efficiency Europe needs.
Confronted with overwhelming responsibility for global greenhouse gas emissions and the resulting climate crisis, fossil-fuel giants like Total are increasingly looking for ways to improve their image, but not their practices. With a full-scale lobbying and public relations offensive, Total are attempting to re-brand a dirty fossil fuel, gas, as the ‘cleanest of fossil fuels’.
Advertisements, opinion pieces in leading newspapers, and large-scale public events like the World Gas Conference , sponsored by the likes of Total and Engie, all celebrate the benefits of gas. In a letter published by the Financial Times, Total and other oil giants urge governments “to take decisive action” at COP21 – as long as they recognise “the vital role of natural gas”. But, what does this really mean?