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The Guardian Will No Longer Run Ads From Fossil Fuel Companies

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Climate change is derailing efforts to fight extreme poverty by contributing to natural disasters, food insecurity, and refugee crises. The United Nations urges all countries to reduce fossil fuel use to mitigate climate change. You can join us in taking action on related issues here.

UK-based newspaper the Guardian announced on Wednesday that it will no longer accept advertising from fossil fuel companies, adding that “any business primarily involved in extracting fossil fuels” will be included in the ban, too.

The Guardian claims that it is “the first major global news organization” to stop accepting advertising from oil and gas companies.

Executives from the company said they expect the move to hurt the company financially, at least in the short term, although they hope that the move will persuade readers to contribute financially to the Guardian, and potentially bring in other pro-climate advertisers.

Fossil fuel companies have spent heavily on advertising to downplay their role in climate change and ultimately prevent climate action.

Last October, the Guardian reported on efforts dating back to the 1990s by trade groups representing fossil fuel companies to cast doubt on the scientific consensus surrounding climate change.

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Trade associations representing the fossil fuel industry, such as the American Petroleum Institute, spent nearly $1.4 billion on advertising promoting dirty energy from 2008 to 2017, according to analysis from the Climate Investigations Center.

Emily Atkin, climate journalist and author of the newsletter Heated, has launched an Instagram account chronicling instances of fossil fuel ads appearing in media.

Native ads are a type of advertising designed to look similar to standard news articles, but that are paid for and sponsored. The Washington Post has run native advertising for the American Petroleum Institute advocating for natural gas, and the New York Times has run ads for ExxonMobil and Shell.

Despite what the fossil fuel companies have claimed in the past, climate change is real and making it much harder to achieve the global goals, the United Nations reported last year.

Natural disasters fueled in part by climate change cost the world an estimated $150 billion in 2019. Currently, 45 million people in Africa are facing food shortages due to a drought exacerbated by climate change, while millions of people in developing nations have been displaced due to climate change.