Team OIL workshop: Learn to leverage local oil and gas industry views

Team OIL workshop Photo

Team OIL held their first workshop this fall.

Team OIL workshop: Learn to leverage local oil and gas industry views

By Pam Shaouy

As a Citizens’ Climate Lobby (CCL) volunteer, you’re savvy about climate change. You talk about CCL’s Carbon Fee and Dividend solution with confidence. And you may even meet with your community leaders to ask them to endorse it.

But what if those community leaders are in the oil and gas industry? Do you know where they stand on climate change? Or what they think about pricing carbon? Does the very idea of such a meeting sound… counterintuitive?

Team OIL is here to help with a workshop that empowers volunteers to speak about—and speak to—the oil and gas industry with confidence. “OIL” stands for Oil (and gas) Industry Liaisons. In the Team OIL workshop, you’ll learn about the industry and its evolving positions from former industry workers and CCL leaders. And you’ll hone a message about local industry support for carbon pricing. That’s right! There are major oil and gas companies that support a carbon fee with the collected revenue returned as a dividend to U.S. households.

Who is Team OIL?

Team OIL is a CCL action team with experience or interest in the oil and gas industry. Its resident experts are scientists and engineers from companies like ExxonMobil, Shell, BP and other oil services and petrochemical companies. One member is CCL’s liaison with ExxonMobil. Another is the liaison for Shell.

You don’t need to have industry experience or be a scientist to join the team or attend the workshop. Members and attendees come from diverse backgrounds. In fact, it’s often volunteers learning about the industry for the first time who ask great questions and make insightful points.

What does Team OIL do?

In addition to liaison relationships with ExxonMobil and Shell, the team actively engages and maintains good relationships with thought leaders from:

  • American Petroleum Institute (API)
  • American Association of Petroleum Geologists (AAPG)
  • Carnegie Endowment for International Peace Energy and Climate Program

Team OIL also tracks and publicizes the support oil and gas companies express for carbon pricing. Team leaders help CCL understand and leverage this support in endorsement and outreach work.

Really? Oil and gas companies support carbon pricing?

There’s no refuting the history of climate change denial in the oil and gas industry. That’s probably a big reason why many people are surprised to learn that today, most oil companies generally acknowledge human-caused climate change.

While it’s important to note that not all oil companies support climate action, most of the large oil companies do. And the solution they support is government-led carbon pricing. They believe it’s the simplest, most transparent and fairest way to reduce carbon emissions. The position statements of ExxonMobil and Shell are hiding in plain sight on their websites.

“If we deny that the large integrated oil companies support carbon pricing, we play into the hands of climate skeptics,” said Liz Fisher, Team OIL’s National Team Lead. “Skeptics would be happy for us to fight among ourselves because that would prevent any forward movement. So let’s stay laser-focused on Carbon Fee and Dividend and move forward the CCL way—with respect and appreciation.”

Whatever debates you may have about other aspects of the oil and gas industry, leveraging oil company support for carbon pricing can significantly help take Carbon Fee and Dividend to the next level.

The Team OIL workshop

Team OIL is on a mission to help CCL chapters learn about and leverage local oil and gas industry support for carbon pricing.

Team OIL’s Dr. Larry Kremer, a retired chemical engineer formerly with Baker Hughes, recently conducted a four-hour workshop for CCL’s Louisiana chapters. The workshop helped members understand local and regional companies, concerns and major influencers. It gave CCL New Orleans chapter co-leader Will Koren confidence. He explained, “It makes you feel more credible. The workshop gave me the same understanding of the oil Industry as when I studied climate change—a functional understanding, not a mythical idea. These unbiased conversations are critical in making the impossible feel possible.”

The workshop helped members new to oil and gas feel more comfortable talking about the industry and talking to industry leaders. Andy Kowalczyk, CCL New Orleans chapter co-leader, remarked, “This workshop was an experience that made me feel more capable communicating the issues the fossil fuel industry faces and how Carbon Fee and Dividend fits in.”

And the workshop helped members develop a strategy and messaging to use in outreach work to gain support for Carbon Fee and Dividend. Dr. Kremer noted, “Attendees can leverage this knowledge when they reach out to oil and gas companies, make presentations to a community group or meet with members of Congress. They can give members of Congress ideas on how to engage with oil companies on carbon pricing when they meet about other topics related to the oil business.”

These are just a few examples of how the workshop enables you to effectively engage in real-life outreach and local opportunities.

Arrange a Team OIL workshop

Team OIL offers their workshop throughout the United States in areas with heavy employment in traditional oil and gas jobs. They want to help! Contact Team OIL on Community to arrange a workshop near you.

In the meantime, explore the Citizens’ Climate University online lesson about oil and gas industry support for carbon pricing. Before you know it, you’ll be speaking fluent oil and gas with confidence.

Pam Shaouy
As a child, Pam refused to let her parents cut down a maple tree, even though its roots were causing plumbing problems. Today, she's a semi-retired copy and scriptwriter with deep experience writing about IT solutions that help industries work smarter and more sustainably.
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