Two of the most powerful oil and gas lobbies in the United States - the American Petroleum Institute (API) and the American Gas Association (AGA) – are flooding Facebook with hundreds of targeted ads opposing key climate initiatives in the $3.5 trillion budget ‘reconciliation’ package.
Advertising data analyzed by InfluenceMap shows that since August 11, when the U.S. Senate passed a budget resolution, the API has spent $423,000 on ads which have been viewed 21 million times.
The API’s daily Facebook ad spend (based on a seven week rolling average) of $10.8K on August 8 eclipsed its own previous record of $10.3K, which was set when Joe Biden announced his pre-election climate plan in July 2020.
Part of the API’s Facebook strategy involves its ‘Energy Citizens’ page, which has published 286 ads targeting individual members of Congress.
Most of these ads urge the viewer to call their member of Congress and warn them against supporting “tax hikes on U.S. energy producers”.
Alternatively, if a viewer’s member of Congress already appears unlikely to support the climate initiatives, the ads encourage people to call to reinforce that position. For example, one ad urges people to call Senator Joe Manchin and “thank (him) for supporting American made energy!”.
These Energy Citizen ads alone have gained six million views since the budget resolution was passed in the Senate.
Similarly, the AGA’s Facebook ad spend has spiked since August 11. It has spent $18,000 on targeted Facebook ads which have been viewed 2.2 million times, urging people to contact their member of Congress.
If the viewer clicks on these ads, they are taken to a site stating “Methane Tax: Devastating for Families and Businesses”.
Outside of advertising, the API has also criticized the Clean Energy Performance Program in the plan, while the AGA has pushed back on methane pricing.
The API and AGA are not the only industry groups pushing back hard against the Biden Administration’s plans.
The US Chamber of Commerce, the National Association of Manufacturers, and the Business Roundtable are all lobbying against aspects of the reconciliation bill.
The Chamber said the reconciliation bill fell short of “a serious attempt to establish durable climate policy”. All three have criticized the corporate tax measures likely needed to pay for the climate provisions.
InfluenceMap’s US Program Manager Kendra Haven said: “These industry groups are pulling out all the stops -- from advertising to public messaging -- to oppose the reconciliation bill.
“This level of strategic activity, particularly through targeted advertising campaigns, exposes the value of their positive-sounding, top-line statements on climate.
“At the same time, many of their corporate members remain silent – allowing their industry groups to undermine one of the last real shots at meaningful climate action in the US.”
For further information or to arrange interviews, please contact:
Kendra Haven, US Program Manager, InfluenceMap (New York)
Simon Cullen, Communications Manager, InfluenceMap (London)
simon.cullen ( @ ) influencemap.org