Global warming is a growing problem for oil companies. Gasoline is essential to our economy and our way of life, but oil companies are often viewed as evil contributors to the downfall of humanity. Many people seem to view them in the same light as the tobacco companies. The head of Exxon/Mobil was recently quoted as saying
"It's time for the energy industry to focus on solutions to tackle the greenhouse gas debate. We know the climate is changing and greenhouse gases are increasing. Our industry has a responsibility to contribute to discussions on these policy issues . . . and take concrete actions ourselves."
The industry knows that their product is harmful but doing away with the product would end their business and skyrocketing profits. Oil companies are now advertising the fact that they are researching alternative fuels, and ways of ending our dependence on oil. It seems that if alternative fuels are discovered the oil companies would be required to adapt their businesses. It is not likely that a major discovery would be released by an oil company, though the oil companies want you to believe that they are part of the solution not part of the cause. Communicating this message must be a very difficult challenge for the public relations departments of these companies. It takes a certain level of audacity to communicate such a message because much of the public would scoff at it unless it is communicated effectively.
A lot of these negative feelings are due to the record profits that the oil companies have been enjoying lately. There is growing distrust because of the war in Iraq, the ties that both President Bush and Vice President Chenney have to the oil industry, and the numerous cases of corporate greed and scandal that have dominated the news in the last couple of years. The oil companies record profits have allowed the industry to spend record amounts on their public relations efforts. The American Petroleum Institute which is funded for over four hundred companies in the oil industry, will in 2007 spend over $112 million on public relations. They have also recently employed the same PR firm which developed the "Got Milk" campaign.
Because of the huge problem of distrust that the industry is experiencing, they have of course been...