Excellent demonstration via Robbie Semple on Twitter: “Ireland’s biggest fossil fuel company is @dccplc. They are a FTSE100 company. Last year they made £13.4 billion in revenue and £530.2 million in profit. 71% of the profit came from their fossil fuel businesses. ‘In the face of a global crisis, Ireland’s biggest fossil fuel company refuses to stop selling fossil fuels ’: Why is this not more of a story? DCC are very good at communications. Given how they make their money, most publicity is bad for business, so they keep a low profile. And what they do communicate is very skilful. […] “We have adopted a Net Zero 2050 target for our group Scope 1 and 2 emissions. Our interim target is a 20% reduction by 2025.” This is a masterclass in how to tell the world you won’t stop selling fossil fuels without telling the world you won’t stop selling fossil fuels. The key is referring only to scope 1 and 2 emissions, meaning the emissions produced in running their business. For DCC, that will include things like electricity for their factories, and fuel for their trucks. But they don’t mention scope 3 emissions, which would include emissions produced in their supply chain, or by their customers. For DCC, that means they don’t have to worry about the methane that escapes when it’s fracked out of the earth, or the carbon emitted as their oil and gas they sell is burned by end users. DCC’s 2021 sustainability report refers to scope 3 emissions, but doesn’t quantify them and has set no targets for reducing them. So with their current banner commitments, they could double the amount of fossil fuels they sell and still meet their 2050 targets.” Scope 1/2/3 emissions are a hard concept to get your head around, but very important in dissecting greenwashing PR.
Twitter UK analysed the racist abuse directed at England football players on the night of the Euro 2020 final, and noted: “our data suggests that ID verification would have been unlikely to prevent the abuse from happening — as of the permanently suspended accounts, 99% of account owners were identifiable.”
Well, this is a problem —
Running these workshops was a fascinating experience. In each, there was a definite point which I came to think of as a “penny-drop moment”, when the participants came to realise the significance of the climate crisis and the way it would shape our collective future. In one workshop, for example, a very eminent scientist explained to MPs how crop yields are likely to be severely affected by extreme weather, a likely scenario if global average temperatures rise by 2C or more – and that this could lead to food shortages. The response was striking. There was a silence, a collective intake of breath, a recognition of the significance of the changes that could be upon us if we don’t act. And then, at the end of our workshop, they walked out of the door and back to their normal lives. […] It became clear to me that there were two main reasons why MPs struggled with the issue: first, because it didn’t fit easily into the culture of political life and their own identity as a parliamentarian; and second, because they worried that public support for climate action was limited, and that, as representatives, they needed to be led by their electorate.I have some confidence that a Citizen’s Assembly approach is the right answer here. In Ireland it was clear that politicians felt more comfort with gay marriage and abortion as topics once those CAs had delivered their findings and demonstrated how an electorate really felt about them.