KR Foundation Newsletter 

 14 October 2022 

Welcome to a new edition of KR Foundation’s newsletter

In this edition, we introduce you to a few of the amazing organizations supported at our board meeting in October.
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Warm This Winter - a campaign for clean, affordable energy

We are at an historic inflection point for fossil fuels. On one hand, Russia’s war in Ukraine has emboldened the oil and gas industry and its supporters to lobby for increased production and to exploit energy security concerns to accelerate new extraction. On the other hand, the soaring price of gas, which is projected to stay exceptionally high until at least 2025, has driven inflation to new levels across Europe and created an energy crisis in the UK (and beyond), exposing the deep vulnerability associated with the dependency on gas. While the fossil fuel companies are reporting record profits, most people are faced with a huge hike in their cost of living, which has also generated public backlash against the industry in many countries. 

The UK-based organization Uplift aims to use this crucial moment to push for a rapid phase-out of oil and gas production and a surge in renewable energy in the UK. Uplift has a ‘networked’ approach to campaigning and is often an invisible partner in campaigns - supporting other organisations to leverage their competence and enable a closely coordinated body of work. Through its campaigns and research, including the campaign Warm This Winter, Uplift aims to create a vocal and diverse coalition of civil society actors (NGOs, grassroots groups, academics and other experts, and well-respected public figures) calling for a transformation of the UK’s energy system, including a swift transition away from oil and gas. This will also include anti-poverty groups, oil and gas workers, trade unions, and communities that are close to the industry, who can constructively engage in conversations with key politicians and industry leaders. 


Targeting Europe’s biggest polluters

Eastern Europe is home to some of the continent’s largest coal- and gas-dependent utilities that are still driving climate pollution in Europe. These companies have largely avoided pressure to phase out their use of fossil fuels and have been putting forward some of the weakest climate pledges among European energy companies. The Russian war in Ukraine and the energy situation in Europe have made the dangers of fossil fuel dependency clear, bringing an opportunity to challenge the business model of some of the Eastern European energy companies as they are also transporting Russian gas through the region.
Czech campaign organization Re-set has set out to utilize this moment to hinder these companies from raising further capital to finance their coal and gas operations. Re-set is a relatively young organization built around seasoned climate campaigners in Czech civil society. Their approach is to collaborate with grassroots groups, youth activists as well as investigative journalists to build campaigns around key targets blocking the energy transition in the Czech Republic.


Getting to the core of climate misinformation

Misinformation about climate change is widespread on digital platforms with three issues being at the core of the problem: 1) Corporations, organizations, and individuals with significant reach and advertising budgets, deliberately spreading false and misleading information. 2) Platforms (such as Facebook and Google) which are currently self-regulated and non-accountable, prioritizing profit over truthful content. 3) Well-intending organizations who are keen to address misinformation but overwhelmed by the digital sphere and ill-equipped to react effectively.
Center for Countering Digital Hate is aiming to address these three fundamental issues. They do this by mapping who is spreading climate misinformation, presenting big tech platforms with evidence of the scope of the problem (and presenting solutions), and by educating key NGOs on best practice on countering misinformation. CCDH has a strong track record in this field. Their previous report, The Toxic Ten, identified ten websites as the main producers of climate change skepticism on social media platforms. They calculated that these “Toxic Ten” were responsible for up to 69% of Facebook users’ interactions with climate change denial. This knowledge has since been leveraged by numerous other organizations in the disinformation space to apply pressure to Big Tech to change their policies and practices.


Countering lies and greenwashing on digital platforms 

The Russian invasion of Ukraine has entirely altered the landscape around the energy transition in Europe and beyond, and decision makers are standing at a crossroad – do they bet on the fossil fuels that are an integral part of sustaining this crisis or do they invest in safe and reliable renewable alternatives? This conversation is raging on digital platforms where misinformation is rampant and fact-checking abilities are limited.
To counter this trend and promote science-based narratives about the need for a rapid renewable energy transition, the Global Strategic Communications Council is launching a comprehensive digital effort. This includes supporting campaigns in (Germany, Italy, France, Poland, and Spain) with a variety of NGO partners, a collaboration with Wikipedia to ensure that facts (especially about gas) about climate change is easily accessible, and working to ensure that the right narratives are communicated when audiences search on Google.


Exposing the ad agencies that create Big Oil’s misleading campaigns

Photo credit: WhereFrom

Every year, oil and gas companies spend hundreds of millions of dollars on sophisticated advertising and PR campaigns designed to delay action on climate change. So far, the advertising agencies that help propagate these misleading and false claims have mostly flown under the radar, despite the large role they play in halting meaningful climate action.
DeSmog is an organization that leverages high-impact investigative journalism as a driver of social change. They have a long track record of exposing the greenwashing and false narratives disseminated by the large fossil fuel companies. With this project, DeSmog aims to shed a light on the ties these companies have to some of the established advertising agencies – especially by accentuating the role such agencies have in creating misleading campaigns.


Using the law to counter greenwashing

Misleading advertising and greenwashing is widespread in Australia, a country with a vast contribution to global climate change relative to its population. To protect vested interests and maintain the status quo, the AUD 115bn fossil fuel industry spends large sums to spread misinformation and is routinely engaged in corporate greenwashing. Fossil fuel expansion projects are often deliberately excluded from a company's total emissions figures, and disingenuous climate plans are also commonplace.
The Environmental Defenders Office (EDO) is the largest environmental legal centre in the Australia Pacific. They have set out to address this problem by using strategic litigation to hold the large companies accountable for their advertising and PR efforts and ensure that what they say aligns with what they actually do. Australia has a progressive legal framework on greenwashing, and EDO aims to achieve legal outcomes that will discourage polluting corporations, and the PR and advertising agencies representing them, from spreading false information. In 2021 EDO filed the first, pioneering court case in the world to challenge the veracity of a company’s net zero emissions target, and they continue to lead the charge by utilising corporate litigation as an integral part of their work in order to combat climate greenwashing.


Talking to parents about climate change

Even though climate change is still high on the agenda in Denmark, the ongoing energy crisis could potentially stall ambitious action and squander public support. Recent polling shows that there is a generational gap when it comes to prioritizing climate change, where young people largely favor more ambitious climate policies. Evidence also suggests that the most effective way to convince someone to take, and support, climate action is to have a person they trust talk directly to them.
Leveraging these two insights, a coalition of Danish NGOs is on a mission to bridge the generational climate gap. Their solution is simple – have young people talk to their parents about the importance of climate issues leading up to the coming election and in turn encourage politicians to create momentum around three climate demands regarding agriculture, transportation, and the financial sector. The project is a collaborative effort between ActionAid Denmark, Greenpeace, Dansk Naturfredningsforening, Den Grønne Ungdomsbevægelse, Klimabevægelsen og Rådet for Grøn Omstilling.


Your daily news about climate change

Climate change is now a topic that is engrained in almost all sectors, and it can be hard to keep up to date with all the relevant news. Also, it can be equally daunting to decipher what is relevant news and what is greenwashing.
The youth organisation Grøn has set out to remedy this by creating a daily 5-minute podcast that aggregates and reflects on the most relevant daily news about climate change spanning from agriculture over transportation to the latest international developments. Grøn is a foundation established in 2020, communicating the science and solutions to climate change.


Welcome to Ida Lærke Holm

We are really excited to welcome Ida, who will be joining KR Foundation as programme officer. Ida has a bachelor’s degree in Economics from University of Copenhagen and a bachelor’s degree in Development Studies from Lund University.  She is vice chair of the Danish Rethinking Economics chapter, and has been part of the new economy movement for several years. She formerly held a position as policy advisor at civil society network Global Focus. In her position at KR Foundation, Ida will be involved across international and national programme areas, with a particular focus on the New Economy agenda.
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