Transparency


Shareholders Not Playing Games at Big Oil Annual General Meetings

, climate accountability campaign director

Major fossil fuel producers are holding their annual general meetings (AGMs) this month amid mounting pressure from investors, increasing risks of legal liability for climate damages, and heightened scrutiny of their lobbying and public policy advocacy. BP and Royal Dutch Shell host their AGMs this week; ExxonMobil and Chevron will follow next week.

If shareholder meetings were classic game shows, and investors were keeping score, fossil fuel companies would be coming up short. Read more >

©corlaffra/Shutterstock.com
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What Happened During the Hasty White House Review of EPA’s Science Restriction Rule?

, Lead science and policy analyst

We already know that the production of Administrator Scott Pruitt’s rule to restrict science at the EPA was purely political, but it’s possible that there’s a whole new layer of politics that went on at the White House level as well. Read more >

Photo: Matthew Platt/CC BY-SA (Flickr)
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Photo: US Department of Defense

Here are the “Transparency” Policy Documents the EPA Does Not Want You to See

, Washington representative, Center for Science and Democracy

On April 17th, the Union of Concerned Scientists obtained EPA records through three separate Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) requests demonstrating that a proposed Trojan horse “transparency” policy that would restrict the agency’s ability to use the best available science in decision-making is driven by politics, not science. The records also embarrassingly showed EPA officials were more concerned about the release of industry trade secrets than they were about sensitive private medical information.

Read more >

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Photo: bigwavephoto/CC BY-SA 4.0 (Wikimedia)

This Sunshine Week, How “Draining the Swamp” and Open Government are Faring in the Trump Era

, Lead science and policy analyst

We are more than one year into President Trump’s administration, and if you’ve been following the news, you know all too well that the whole “draining the swamp” initiative was only ever lip service at best. Despite issuing an executive order on ethics in his first week of office, President Trump has managed to appoint a slew of former lobbyists or industry staff to positions dealing directly with issues that affect their former employers’ bottom lines. Read more >

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In Australia, Too, Shareholders Demand Climate Transparency from Fossil Fuel Companies

, climate accountability campaign director

[Update December 19, 2017, 1:16pm] BHP Billiton Limited issued its promised report on the material differences between the company’s positions on climate and energy policy and the advocacy positions on climate and energy policy taken by industry associations to which BHP belongs. Based on its review, the company has decided to withdraw from the World Coal Association and to reconsider its membership in the US Chamber of Commerce. BHP will formally communicate with the Minerals Council of Australia (MCA) over the inconsistencies between its position and those of the MCA, request that the MCA refrain from policy activity or advocacy in those area, and review its membership in the MCA if the association has not heeded that request within a year.

BHP’s report and the actions the company has taken based on it are a significant step forward for transparency and accountability of corporate lobbying. UCS and our supporters will be urging other major fossil fuel companies to match BHP’s disclosures and to ensure that the climate-related positions of their trade associations and industry groups are aligned with their own.

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Fig. 2 from Frumhoff, Heede, Oreskes (2015) based on data from Heede (2014)
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