Royal Dutch Shell published its annual environmental report in April and boasted that it was investing heavily in renewable energy.
The same day, Shell issued a separate report revealing that its single largest donation to political lobby groups last year was made to the American Petroleum Institute, one of the US’s most powerful trade organizations, which drives the oil industry’s relationship with Congress.
Shell said it is committed to installing hundreds of thousands of charging stations for electric vehicles around the world to help offset the harm caused by burning fossil fuels. Contrary to Shell’s public statements in support of electric vehicles, API’s chief executive, Mike Sommers, has pledged to resist a raft of Joe Biden’s environmental measures, including proposals to fund new charging points in the US. He claims a “rushed transition” to electric vehicles is part of “government action to limit Americans’ transportation choice”.
Shell donated more than $10m to API last year alone. Most other oil conglomerates are also major funders, including ExxonMobil, Chevron and BP, although they have not made their contributions public. Shell and other major oil firms are using API as cover for the industry. While companies run publicity campaigns claiming to take the climate emergency seriously, the trade group works behind the scenes in Congress to stall or weaken environmental legislation.
An Exxon lobbyist in Washington was secretly recorded by Greenpeace describing API as the industry’s “whipping boy” to direct public and political criticism away from individual companies.