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5 Top Greenwashing Examples — Interview with Assaad Razzouk

I recently interviewed Assaad Razzouk, CEO of Gurin Energy and host of “The Angry Clean Energy Guy” podcast, for CleanTech Talk, and — wow — was it an eye-opening discussion! Our conversation centered around several key examples of greenwashing that have been harming the world for years. First, Assaad gives us a brief history of his own career, which started in the financial industry. It was on a 2006 trip to China about a project that involved trying to capture methane from a coal power plant. He could see the effects of the coal power plant right in front of his face while being in the community. He started to wake up to the environmental crises we’re facing (including the climate crisis, biodiversity loss, and public health crises from pollution) and decided to change course.

As he got more and more into the field, Assaad started picking up on various types of greenwashing that were delaying action.

One, for example, is the term “natural gas.” Using the term “natural gas” for fossil methane or fossil gas that we specifically knock out of the Earth to burn makes the energy source sound nice, unsuspecting, neighborly, and not too dirty. After all, it’s natural! The common use of this term has helped it to seep into many “plans” to cut emissions. This helped it to be a popular “bridge fuel” across the world. As more and more data came out showing the massive amount of methane leakage throughout the industry, and the fact that fossil gas may be even worse than coal for the climate, it was easier for people to brush those data under the rug and continue to pretend that natural gas is a half-clean fuel that doesn’t massively heat up our fragile globe.

One thing that came out of that, which included some fascinating history I was not aware of, is that CleanTechnica‘s new policy is to use the term “fossil gas” instead of “natural gas.”

Carbon footprint calculators. “It’s basically shifting the responsibility from big oil to the consumer,” Assaad summarizes before getting into the details of this matter. He doesn’t just talk personal/individual calculators, but also how this has led to greenwashing from corporations like airlines and oil companies.

Corporate “net zero” pledges with no plans to actually cut emissions to zero. Similarly, he explains how carbon markets are big, broad forms of greenwashing. Skeptical? Give it a listen. I think you’ll be sold.

He also talks about the greenwashing inherent in the green bond market. Be careful — listening to his logical analysis will ruin green bonds for you!

Listen to the full episode for more. It is embedded above and below via Spotify and SoundCloud, respectively. Or you can go directly to our channel on a range of 11 different podcast networks: AnchorApple Podcasts/iTunesBreakerGoogle PodcastsOvercastPocketPodbeanRadio PublicSoundCloudSpotify, or Stitcher.

Other recent CleanTech Talk podcasts:

Bill McKibben On Climate Crisis, Climate Grief, Climate Action, & US Climate Policy — CleanTechnica Interview

Bill McKibben On Unions, Tesla, & Elon Musk — CleanTechnica Interview

Bill McKibben On Social Trust, Science, & Cryptocurrency — CleanTechnica Interview

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Written By

Zach is tryin' to help society help itself one word at a time. He spends most of his time here on CleanTechnica as its director, chief editor, and CEO. Zach is recognized globally as an electric vehicle, solar energy, and energy storage expert. He has presented about cleantech at conferences in India, the UAE, Ukraine, Poland, Germany, the Netherlands, the USA, Canada, and Curaçao. Zach has long-term investments in Tesla [TSLA], NIO [NIO], Xpeng [XPEV], Ford [F], ChargePoint [CHPT], Amazon [AMZN], Piedmont Lithium [PLL], Lithium Americas [LAC], Albemarle Corporation [ALB], Nouveau Monde Graphite [NMGRF], Talon Metals [TLOFF], Arclight Clean Transition Corp [ACTC], and Starbucks [SBUX]. But he does not offer (explicitly or implicitly) investment advice of any sort.


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