In the Wall Street Journal, Steve Milloy reveals that many companies are using their required financial disclosure filings for “greenwashing.” Companies tell the Securities and Exchange Commission they are making contributions to reducing climate change when those contributions are minuscule.
Companies often tout what they are doing to “save the planet” or “combat climate change.” None of these claims are tethered to reality, much less securities laws.
Apple claims it is “significantly reducing emissions to address climate change.” But Apple’s claimed CO2 emissions amount to a mere 0.04% of the global total of 53.5 billion tons.
Exxon Mobil pats itself on the back for playing an “essential role in addressing the risks of climate change” by cutting its operational emissions by 20 million tons last year. What the company doesn’t mention is that during the same period, Exxon Mobil sold products that when burned let out close to 600 million tons of emissions.
Amazon boasts about its “commitment to meet the Paris Agreement 10 years early.” But the only entities that can meet the Paris climate accord are the nations that signed it. The goal of the Paris Agreement, to hold average global temperature within 1.5 degrees of the historic mean, couldn’t be achieved by Amazon under any circumstances.
If a company wants to tout emissions cuts, for example, it should mention that man-made emissions of greenhouse gases are 55.3 billion tons a year and are going up, according to the U.N. Or if a utility wants to boast about closing a few coal plants, it must also describe how there are hundreds, perhaps more than 1,000, new coal plants being built around the world. Shareholders should know that in a global context, corporate actions on climate are a lot smaller than advertised—closer to zero than hero.