Ethics and CAPP advertising


in Canada, Rants, The environment

The Canadian Association of Petroleum Producers (CAPP) have a new advertising campaign for the oil sands that is all about personal credibility: the ads feature the faces, names, and signatures of oil company employees who argue that the environmental impact of the oil sands is manageable and shrinking.

Since CAPP made the ads personal in the first place, it seems appropriate to do the same and ask about the ethics of appearing in these ads.

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. February 12, 2019 at 2:19 pm

In what is almost certainly a trial run for the federal election later this year, the Canadian Association of Petroleum Producers (CAPP) released an election platform for the upcoming Alberta election. CAPP’s members are a who’s who of global heavy-hitters like ExxonMobil, Chevron, ConocoPhillips, Shell, BP, Koch Oil Sands and PetroChina, as well as Canadian-based companies like Suncor, Husky, CNRL and Cenovus.

The goal of their platform is to double the growth rate of oil production in Canada. They claim that the International Energy Agency (IEA) says the world is going to need a lot more oil, so Canada should be the one to supply it.

What they conveniently omit is that the IEA publishes a number of scenarios with very different consequences for climate change, ranging from bad to something that makes a Netflix dystopia look tame.

In their election platform, the oil companies have chosen to cite the scenario that comes with a catastrophic level of global warming (over 3 degree Celsius). In that possible future, the demand for oil is growing because the world has failed to make a transition to renewable energy.

The IEA also publishes a scenario where oil demand drops by over 25 per cent in the next 20 years as climate policies take hold and vehicles are powered increasingly by electricity from renewable sources like the wind or sun.

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