Earth911 talks with Professor Daniel Lin, associate professor of operations management at the University of San Diego School of Business. He comments on a first-of-its kind complaint with the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) against an energy company by several nonprofits — Earthworks, Global Witness, and Greenpeace USA. They argue that Chevron makes deceptive, greenwashing advertising claims that “overstate investments in renewable energy and [the company’s] commitment to reducing fossil fuel production.” Lin explains why the FTC has not enforced its Green Guides recommendations against greenwashing first set out during the 1990s, and why it’s time to make those guidelines into enforceable regulations.
Chevron spends about $100 million a year advertising itself as “the human energy company” for a “future of energy [that is] lower carbon,” but invests only $26 million annually to develop those technologies — out of its $13 billion capital investments. That’s just 0.02% of its annual investments to develop low-carbon alternatives to its current fossil fuels-based business. Lin shares his assessment of Chevron’s spending and how it is trapped by its old business model as the price of gasoline declines in the face of renewable alternatives and the rise of electric vehicles. We also discuss how consumers can get involved — write the White House and the FTC — as well as the potential downside of carbon capture technology.