The Fossil Fuel Industry’s Marketing Practices: Shaping Policy and Public Understanding
Beginning in the mid-twentieth century, scientific research and major ecological events highlighted the necessity for innovative environmental policy to protect human health and the environment. Growing research in this field established the process known as the greenhouse effect, which leads to marked climatic change. More frequent observations indicating the anthropogenic nature of climate change led to considerations of policies and regulations that address fossil fuel combustion due to its relationship to atmospheric greenhouse gas concentrations. Since the identification of this relationship, the fossil fuel industry has led efforts to spread doubt and uncertainty in climate science. Among these efforts are widespread “greenwashing” campaigns. More recently, these disinformation campaigns have shifted to those of “climate delay,” or efforts that aim to downplay the urgency to address anthropogenic climate change. Such campaigns have a known impact on consumers and may be subject to regulation by the Federal Trade Commission for their unfair and deceptive nature. The breadth of these efforts reveals the extensive influence of the fossil fuel industry on political institutions, the economy, and most importantly, the public.