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Business-Managed Democracy

“Business-managed democracies are those in which the political and cultural arrangements are managed in the interests of business”

Sharon Beder

Business-Managed Environment

More Oil Company Climatewash

ConocoPhillips Total Oil


Source: 'Greenwash of the Week: Chevron's Solar Project Bulls#%t', Rainforest Action Network, 5 April 2010.


ConocoPhillips in the third largest energy company in the US, operating in 40 nations. It seeks to portray itself as environmentally responsible. It is a member of the US Climate Action Partnership which has called 'on the federal government to quickly enact strong national legislation to require significant reductions of greenhouse gas emissions'.


However Conoco Phillips has also invested in tar sands in Alberta, Canada. Oil from tar sands contributes far more greenhouse gas emissions than standard oil. In addition Conocco has been an active participant in the astroturf efforts of the American Petroleum Institute (API) to oppose US legislation to limit greenhouse gas emissions.

ConocoPhillips ' believes that a secure energy future depends on utilizing a diverse mix of energy types' including oil, coal, nuclear and oil shale as well as renewables. They do not support the phasing out of fossil fuels. Rather they promote CO2 capture and storage as a viable alternative to phasing out fossil fuels that "has the potential to remove 5 percent of current annual global CO2 emissions". This is another form of greenwash (see clean coal).

ConocoPhillips' advertisement implying they can capture carbon from coal has since been removed from YouTube. However it does still advertise its token investments in renewable energy despite its major investments being in oil and gas.

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Total Oil

Total Oil is a French oil company.  It is the fifth largest oil and gas company in the world and operates in over 130 countries. Total claims in its advertisements that "To meet growing energy demands and to prepare for the future, Total is contributing to the boom in new energies, which complement fossil fuels. One of our priorities is the development of solar energy."

Total Advertisement

In contrast Total is clear on its website that it is still commited to oil and gas:

"Total’s goal is to meet growing energy demand while lessening the impact of energy use on climate change. To help us do that, we are increasing our oil and gas reserves, developing new and alternative energies, and enhancing our own and customer energy efficiency. We support this strategy with R&D programs."


Total's advertised investment of 100 million euros in solar energy in 2008 compared with total 2009 investments of 14 billion euros, three quarters of which is in oil and gas field exploration and development. This suggests that growth of fossil fuel sources remain Total's priority and this is confirmed in shareholder reports. In fact in 2008 Total disposed of some of its wind farm projects.

As for ConocoPhillips, Total promotes the capture and storage of CO2 as a viable alternative to phasing out fossil fuels: 'Carbon capture and storage represents a promising technology and core research focus for Total'.

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