Big Oil’s Texas Deep Freeze Misinformation Two Step
Big Oil’s History of Misinformation Fueling Oily Politicians Renewable Energy Falsehoods as Lives Are Lost
HELENA, MT – As Texans and others in the south battle through more brutely cold temperatures during rolling electrical blackouts, new research by Accountable.US shows how Big Oil is fueling the political mouthpieces who are taking the opportunity to misinform the public about renewable energy and climate change instead of addressing the immediate crisis — even as lives are being lost. The misinformation campaign follows a long pattern by Big Oil, its political allies, and its associations — like the American Petroleum Institute and Western Energy Alliance — of promulgating untruths in order to derail meaningful climate action in the name of corporate profits.
“Just because you put your boots in the oven, it doesn’t make them biscuits,” said Jayson O’Neill, spokesperson for Accountable.US. “Big Oil and oily politicians tried to do a Texas sized two-step around the truth before facts revealed that natural gas energy generation and poor policy decisions were the primary factors behind the failures, not renewable energy.”
The opportunist Big Oil sector’s mouthpieces jumped at the opportunity to blame renewable energy as residents across Texas were in the thralls of the deep freeze even as lives were being lost. But, in reality, their rhetoric was another red herring that could have been further from the truth: natural gas, coal and nuclear energy were the primary sources of failure due to Enron-style deregulation of electric utilities by Texas officials.
New research by Accountable.US found that the same politicians that are regurgitating talking points and misinforming the public about this crisis took in tens of millions of oil and gas donations over their political careers.
Denver-based Big Oil front-group Western Energy Alliance’s executive director tweeted on Sunday imploring people to ‘thank a natural gas producer’ if they enjoyed a warm home after Forbes followed numerous media outlets in incorrectly reporting that renewables were to blame before the facts were revealed. The Wall Street Journal posted an error riddled opinion piece the same day that oily politicians quickly amplified.
Even Montana’s junior senator, Steve Daines, attempted to pile on the misinformation campaign by posting a 2014 photo of a frozen windmill from Sweden on social media even though two-thirds of the outage was from natural gas and, again, made false claims about Interior Secretary nominee Deb Haaland. No retraction or correction by Daines has been issued even though the original post has since been removed.
Accountable.US has been tracking Big Oil’s rhetoric versus the actual reality as the Biden administration works to act on climate and fill important top-level posts across his administration.