A new CDL report examines the role of public relations firms in shaping public and political opinion on climate change, finding that their campaigns for fossil fuel industry clients have shaped the federal and state response to climate change. Through profiles of over 21 public relations (PR) campaigns on behalf of clients in the oil, gas and coal industries, this report finds that these campaigns employed similar tactics to shape opinion and achieve favorable legislative outcomes.
- Distorting climate science to promote uncertainty in the severity of climate change
- Greenwashing fossil fuel clients to make them seem more environmentally friendly than they really are
- Mobilizing front groups to act as a mouthpiece for fossil fuel clients and create the appearance of grassroots support for opposition to environmental legislation
- Attacking opponents
The report also found that the leading PR firms in the country often played both sides of the battle for public opinion on climate change by representing both fossil fuel and environmental clients, sometimes at the same time.
These findings illustrate how PR campaigns have adapted over time to embrace more effective strategies –undermining climate science gave way to front group mobilization and greenwashing the fossil fuel industry. This report reveals how influential PR firms are in the fight to act on climate change: almost every campaign profiled in this report sought a legislative outcome at the federal or state level – and most achieved these political wins.
Full Report Available Here