Thank you. With your support, we are just more than a year into building an organization that is conducting strategic corporate and educational campaigns to diminish the power of the oil industry. But we need your help to keep challenging Big Oil. We have achieved a lot with a little this year – please read on for a list of our accomplishments:
Separation of Oil & State was conceived of as a vehicle for uniting various ongoing environmental, human rights, consumer, development, and national security campaigns around a single common ask – getting oil money out of politics. This campaign was designed to capture existing public anger with the oil industry and channel it into concrete action to reduce the oil industry’s political influence in the US today. In the eight months since its formal launch, it has done just that.
On November 7th, American voters demonstrated that they are prepared to hold Congress accountable to ending their oil addiction, calling for an end to subsidies to Big Oil, and voting for clean candidates in 2008. Here is a selection of the most striking results:
• ALL of the incumbents who took no oil money won. Each and every one of the Congressional incumbents of either party that refrained from accepting campaign contributions from Big Oil in 2006 was successfully re-elected to office.
• Big Oil’s biggest friends lost. Four of the top five Congressional recipients of campaign contributions from Big Oil during the 2006 election cycle lost to cleaner candidates in close Senate races. The unseated Senators include Conrad Burns (Montana), Rick Santorum (Pennsylvania), James Talent (Missouri), and George Allen (Virginia). These results alone will keep nearly $700,000 in oil money’s influence out of the 110th Congress.
• The incoming 110th Congress will be the least beholden to the oil industry in a generation. Not since 1990 has an incoming Congress taken less money from the oil & gas industry. The outgoing 109th was the most beholden Congress to the oil industry, ever.
• These election results are no coincidence. Citizens generated at least 60,000 emails, letters, and calls to their elected representatives in Congress to demand a Separation of Oil and State. Over 5 million people were urged to Separate Oil & State by us and our coalition partners – particularly MoveOn and TrueMajority – and the League of Conservation Voters contacted millions more with an identical ask launched in the last weeks of the campaign. The campaign was initiated in February of 2006 by Oil Change International and subsequently endorsed by Center for American Progress, Center for Corporate Policy, Chesapeake Climate Action Network, Climate Crisis Coalition, Corporate Accountability International, EarthRights International, Energy Action Coalition, ExxposeExxon, Global Exchange, Global Response, Greenpeace USA, Pacific Environment, Public Citizen, Rainforest Action Network, The Ruckus Society, Sierra Student Coalition, Sustainable Future and 20/20 Vision.
Oil Change International
Clean energy advocates and activists have noted for decades that the barriers to a clean energy transition are political, not technical. Today, particularly in the United States, this is more apparent than ever. Oil Change International is the first organization dedicated to identifying, overcoming, and dismantling these political barriers to clean energy.
We are a year into building an organization with a grassroots base in the US that has the capability to conduct strategic corporate and legislative campaigns that will increasingly diminish the legislative power of the oil industry while encouraging increased investment into clean energy technologies. In the one year that we’ve existed, we have:
• Initiated a diverse coalition to Separate Oil and State – which collectively contacted over 5 million people in the last six months regarding the campaign;
• Launched EndOilAid with a full page ad in the Financial Times and a website.
• Sent more than 60,000 letters to Congressional representatives demanding that they stop taking campaign contributions from oil interests;
• Sent formal letters to every Congressional Representative urging them to refrain from accepting oil industry donations.
• Witnessed (and caused) a significant drop in campaign contributions from the oil industry to Congressional candidates, and at least a 52% increase in clean members of Congress over the last election cycle. The incoming Congress will be the least beholden to the oil industry since 1990 (the outgoing 109th Congress was the most beholden to the oil industry ever).
• Produced and distributed the Bush: Addicted to Oil flash video (a spoof of Robert Palmer’s classic Addicted to Love)
• Published Drilling into Debt, the groundbreaking study that confirms the disturbing relationship between developing country debt and oil production;
• Initiated an historic global coalition between energy and debt campaigners, which had its first meeting in Collevecchio Italy in June 2006 and went on to form EndOilAid.
• Coordinated The Price of Oil Tour, that remembered Ken Saro-Wiwa and Nigeria’s Delta peoples ten years after the Ogoni 9 were hanged;
• Co-published Crude Designs, a new report that exposes exactly how the Iraq war benefits US and UK oil companies;
• Obtained, analyzed and released (to the Financial Times) an advance draft of a G8 Plan of Action on Global Energy Security thereby helping to spark a debate among governments and activists on the direction that the G8 is poised to go.
• Co-published a New Report on the World Bank and Clean Energy(pdf), and a Policy Brief with the Jubilee USA Network entitled High Oil Prices: Undermining Debt Cancellation and Fueling a New Crisis?(pdf).
• Designed a one of a kind web tool that allows US citizens to type in their zipcodes, and subsequently lists their representatives, and how much oil money they’ve received since 1990;
• Launched our new website, priceofoil.org, which already is receiving nearly 5,000 unique visitors a day, is an invaluable resource on the oil industry for campaigners, journalists, and decision makers, and will soon feature leading environmental, community, human rights, development, corporate accountability, and national security advocates writing about the oil industry.
• Opened our first office, hired three staff, and managed six contractors.
People, including many politicians and investors, know that oil is bad, but feel powerless and trapped to do anything. Now more than ever though, the barriers to a clean energy transition are political, not technical. By identifying, confronting and overcoming these barriers directly, Oil Change is playing a key role in facilitating the coming energy transition.