Greenwashing is driving our decline into climate catastrophe. But we can stop it | Emma Thompson

JOndola cruises are a traditional part of visiting Venice for those who can afford the exorbitant tourist prices, but I went a little out of script on a recent visit and chose a different, but equally imaginative, ship. We are here in Venicea non-governmental organization that promotes the protection of a city severely affected by climate breakdown and myriad human activities, invited me aboard the Greenpeace ship, the Rainbow Warrior, whose purpose was anything but tourism.

I’ve been on two Arctic tours with Greenpeace: one in Esperanza (it doesn’t exist anymore, not my fault!) and one in Arctic Sunrise. She previously sailed with two crew members who are now on the Rainbow Warrior, and still there, fighting for climate justice around the world.

A couple of weeks ago, not only did Britain beat its own temperature record at all, but in Cuba, Singapore and Panama there were still people shouting that everything was perfectly normal and it was just a normal sunny day. What kind of fantasy world do these people live in, and who built them for them? my trip to Venice Help me answer this question.

I didn’t know it when I arrived, but the Greenpeace activists were about to They staged a protest That involved navigating lake city canals on traditional boats, bearing the logos of major European oil and gas companies using Greenwashing — marketing techniques that try to convince us they’re green when the opposite is true: They want to keep us hooked on fossil fuels. This is killing the planet. Activists ironically declared it the last round in Venice, as the city is at risk of being inundated by climatic influences in the Mediterranean region, such as those we witnessed recently with record-breaking heat waves and wildfires across the region.

Last October, Greenpeace and 30 other organizations launched an initiative for European citizens calling for it new law Fossil fuel advertising and sponsorship is banned in the European Union, similar to what happened with tobacco at the beginning of this century. If the petition collects one million signatures a year, the European Commission is obligated to respond.

Why is such a law important? Now, with broad public support for climate action and the scientific community pointing unreservedly to the fossil fuel industry as largely responsible for the climate crisis, it is the oil and gas companies, which have purposely slowed down over decades of climate action, that are most at risk. The industry is clinging to advertising and sponsorship as one of the last ways to stay afloat.

Delay and deception is the new denial. Fossil fuel companies are pumping millions into the greenwash while making zero-to-meaningful net promises and offering bogus “solutions,” in order to hide decades of devastation. They falsely portray themselves as allies and are stretching the deadline for their outdated actions.

Scientists have had enough. For the first time this year Report of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change He debunked the disinformation strategy by saying: “Who dominates the media debate, and how open debate can be, varies greatly across countries based on the physical and technological strength of participants. Fossil fuel industries have unique access to mainstream media via advertisements, shaping reporting narratives. media and the exercise of political influence in countries such as Australia and the United States.”

More than 450 scientists He also signed a letter calling on public relations and advertising agencies to stop working with fossil fuel companies and stop spreading climate misinformation. This is the first time many scholars have called for the role of public relations and advertising in fueling the climate crisis.

Oil and gas companies buy prestige by sponsoring museums, influencing knowledge by pumping money into universities, and gaining popularity when their slogans are associated with sports. They are investing a lot in buying a social license to continue business as usual by infiltrating our daily lives and hiding the damage. We urgently need to expel them from our minds, hearts and societies.

Last year, thanks to hard work at grassroots level, Harvard university It said it would phase out its fossil fuel reserves gradually. in the UK , National Photo Gallery Scottish Ballet confirmed that it will not enter into further sponsorship deals with BP. tennis australia He gave up gas company Santos as a partner.

At the beginning of this century, the European Union banned tobacco advertising and sponsorship after increasing consumption was recognized and health warnings were hidden. Now, with overwhelming scientific evidence about climate breakdown and its indisputable link to fossil fuel companies, it is time to ban the propaganda of fossil fuels for being deadly and criminal, and push us relentlessly toward climate catastrophe. The struggle works. Together we can tell the people in power how we want to live, and what needs to change.

  • Emma Thompson, Actress and Activist

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