Home News Oil industry websites go haywire in face of new ‘greenwashing’ laws

Oil industry websites go haywire in face of new ‘greenwashing’ laws


When Parliament A law was passed Last month, a coalition of six oil sands companies responded swiftly to a U.S. government ban on misleading or false environmental claims in advertising, known as greenwashing. The website for their Pathway Coalition, which promotes a carbon capture and storage program for oil sands emissions, all but disappeared. Most companies have removed all references to environmental issues from their websites and social media pages.

The Path Alliance website, once heavily promoted by the oil industry, posted only a note on Friday explaining that it was no longer available online because the new law “creates significant uncertainty for Canadian companies that wish to communicate publicly about what they are doing to improve their environmental performance, including to address climate change.”

But the statement also insisted that the website was not an example of “greenwashing”.

“This is a direct consequence of the new legislation and has nothing to do with our belief in the truth and accuracy of environmental information,” the group said.

Environmentalists have long viewed Pathways as a prime example of greenwashing, but they disagree.

“Cleaning up their website is a clear sign of ‘greenwashing’ activity, showing that they have been making false promises about the impact of their emissions reduction plans,” Emilia Belliveau, the energy transition project manager at environmental advocacy group, told me.

The coalition wants the federal government to subsidize two-thirds of the $16-billion Pathways project, which would use new technology to transport carbon from oil sands production to Cold Lake, Alberta, and bury it deep underground, because they say the oil sands could otherwise disappear.

“Consumers and citizens may be concerned about the level of subsidies for carbon capture,” said Mark Cameron, vice president of Pathways. Tell the Senate Committee in May. “If we had lost 250,000 jobs, $20 billion in revenue and 3% of GDP, I think they would have been even more upset.”

I asked Pathways if any representatives were willing to discuss the site closures and the league’s concerns about the new law. No one responded.

They said the companies feared the law “opens the door to frivolous litigation, particularly by private entities” and that it “poses a serious threat to freedom of communications.”

Audrey Milette, a spokeswoman for French Industry Minister François-Philippe Champagne, rejected the suggestion that energy companies would be bombarded with unfounded legal actions. Milette said in an email that the national advertising regulator, the Competition Bureau, would decide what actions to take and that it “will do so in a pragmatic way.”

From the Climate Column: ‘Climate control’ sausage? Court cracks down on ‘greenwashing’

The government’s patience also appears to be wearing thin when it comes to the energy industry’s commitment to eliminating carbon emissions.

“Oil and gas companies have an opportunity to spend their record profits on decarbonization, but we have yet to see those commitments delivered,” Millett wrote. “We need this industry to make the investments to reduce pollution they promised Canadians.”

In their statement, the oil companies called on the Competition Bureau to develop guidelines that go beyond its current scope. Publish an article about greenwashingThe agency announced this week that it would accelerate the development of additional guidelines and hold a consultation on them over the summer.

When Cameron appeared before the Senate committee, he was asked about the veracity of Pathways Alliance’s claims, particularly regarding carbon capture technology. While he acknowledged that some projects have failed, he pointed to a relatively small project in Edmonton as an example of something that could work.

“Yes, you can point to projects in other parts of the world that haven’t worked, but the geology in those places is different from what we have in northern Alberta and Saskatchewan,” he told senators. “They have some of the best geology for carbon capture in North America and perhaps the world.”

Before shutting down its website, Pathways appended a 606-word “cautionary statement” to its press release, concluding: “Actual results could differ materially from those expressed or implied in the forward-looking statements and readers are cautioned not to place undue reliance on these statements.”

Environmentalist Ms. Beliveau disagreed with the energy industry’s optimism about carbon capture, adding that further guidance from the Competition Bureau seemed unnecessary.

“It’s simple: If you’re going to make environmental claims, you need to be able to prove those claims are true,” she said. “That applies to everyone who makes environmental claims. The only group that’s really panicking about this is the oil industry.”

  • My colleague Norimitsu Onishi traveled to Haida Gwaii, British Columbia, where the province passed legislation Power will be transferred to provincial government The land and resources were handed over to the Haida National Council, the government of the Haida people. Photographer Amber Bracken, who frequently contributes to The Times, has provided some stunning photos of this place, one of the most beautiful in Canada.

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  • Darrien Thomas, a food manager at a retirement home in Bowmanville, Ontario, and one of Canada’s top competitive eaters, shared a music tip: Eating hot dogs.

  • A Canadian mining company is embroiled in a United Nations-affiliated election that could determine whether the Pacific Ocean floor will soon be Mining metals For electric vehicles.

  • Chloe Hurst discusses her Ottawa’s Gothic Gardens Along with Lia Picard in the Styles section.

Ian Austin was born in Windsor, Ontario, educated in Toronto and now lives in Ottawa. He has been covering Canadian news for The New York Times for 20 years. Follow him on Bluesky @ianausten.bsky.social

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