Calls for crackdown on fossil fuel company greenwashing

Hand uses green marker to colour in smoke pouring from chimney (environmental claims)
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The Climate Council is calling on the Australian Parliament to crack down on greenwashing claims made by fossil fuel giants.

In a submission to the Senate inquiry on greenwashing, the Climate Council has named and shamed 10 fossil fuel corporations’ dubious climate plans.

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Climate Council Head of Advocacy Dr Jennifer Rayner said, “Let’s be real—these big polluters are gaslighting Australians. We are living through the climate crisis right now, with megafires, record floods, heatwaves and crippling droughts. The only way forward is to drastically cut emissions this decade.

“Fossil fuel corporations who claim to be pursuing net zero targets are doing the absolute opposite: rapidly expanding new fossil fuel projects like the Scarborough, Browse and Beetaloo carbon bombs that will spew out harmful greenhouse gasses for decades to come. Simply put, it’s greenwashing.

“When these corporations dazzle the public and politicians with buzzwords like ‘low emissions’, ‘net zero’ or ‘carbon neutral’, it’s pure bullsh*t. Well-funded marketing spin deliberately distorts the facts, prevents real climate action, and funnels precious investment into dead ends—money that should power genuine green innovations.

“Dodgy net zero claims by fossil fuel polluters are the billion tonne elephant in the room of this inquiry. It’s time our Parliament tackles the fossil fuel industry’s sham environmental claims.

“Developing new and expanded fossil fuel projects is incompatible with a safe future. The science is clear that this has to stop to avoid escalating climate harm.”

The Climate Council’s submission calls on the Australian Parliament to crack down on fossil fuel greenwashing as a priority, starting with the worst offenders.

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This includes:

  • Banning the use of deceptive ‘carbon neutral’ claims by any company pursuing fossil fuel expansion, including in public advertising, financial markets, and communications with governments.
  • Requiring corporations that make net zero claims to show genuine efforts to reduce emissions, rather than cooking the books by relying on offsets.
  • Requiring corporations that make net zero claims to prioritise the absolute reduction of their total life cycle emissions, rather than simply reducing their emission intensity or addressing only a fraction of their total emissions.
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