New research has exposed that fossil fuel firms are some of the biggest spenders on ads designed to look like Google search results. According to climate activists, this is an example of “endemic greenwashing as well as pure sneakiness.

A study by the Guardian and InfluenceMap showed that over one in five ads for 78 climate-related terms were placed by companies with significant interests in fossil fuels. This includes ExxonMobil, Shell, and Goldman Sachs.

This advertising deceives many Google users who may not notice that these are advertisements rather than results. Thus, in the pursuit of learning, they can receive biased information in the interest of these giant fossil fuel companies and firms. 

Many search results within the study provided results that highlighted certain fossil fuel companies’ environmental goals, despite the fact that many only have created an illusion of caring for the environment. For example, Shell’s goal to become net-zero by 2050 relies heavily on carbon capture, a method that will not get them to net-zero by 2050 by any means.

Jake Carbone, the senior data analyst at InfluenceMap, said, “Google is letting groups with a vested interest in the continued use of fossil fuels pay to influence the resources people receive when they are trying to educate themselves. The oil and gas sector has moved away from contesting the science of climate change and now instead seeks to influence public discussions about decarbonization in its favor.”

Sign this petition to stand with the IEA and demand that all major oil and gas companies switch to the production of sustainable, green energy now.

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