Oil Change International

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Oil Change International is formally allied with 350.org.

What it is

Oil Change International is a research and advocacy group that campaigns to expose the true costs of American addiction to oil and to facilitate the transition towards clean energy. It is a 501(c)3 non-profit organization; its sister organization, Oil Change USA, is a 501(c)4.

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.

In Oil Change International's analysis, the oil industry is a source not only of global warming, but also human rights abuses, war, national security concerns, corporate globalization, poverty, and addiction. Big Oil is behind every major political barrier to a clean energy transition; these barriers are:

  • The political influence of the oil industry, particularly in the United States – OCI addresses this via its Separation of Oil & State Campaign;
  • The myth that oil production and consumption brings affluence, particularly in the Global South, and the use of international development funds to subsidize the oil industry – hence the campaign to End Oil Aid.
  • The financial mechanics of an industry that is rewarded for finding more oil, not providing more energy - which OCI addresses via a campaign focusing on financial analysts and investors.

Oil Change was founded in order to network together, encourage, and compliment a diversity of strategies and tactics around the oil industry. Its goal is to force progress in the energy industry towards an environmentally and socially sustainable energy future. We achieve this by: being a consistent and credible source of information on the industry; using knowledge of the industry to craft strategic, incisive campaigns; and by working with people around the world who are committed to shifting power.

Oil Change International organizes to unite allies, campaigns to divide opponents, and conducts research to expose hidden truths and trends towards overcoming each of these barriers.

History

It was founded in 2005 by Steve Kretzmann, and has since grown to become a force in the progressive movement to fight the corrupting influence of the oil industry in Congress.

Location

Its headquarters is in Washington, DC.

Campaigns

  • No War No WarmingA coalition of 50 anti-war and climate change advocates got together in 2007 to address the issue of global warming and the War in Iraq. This campaign linked justice, peace, and sustainability into one big movement.
  • Separate Oil and State This campaigns to reduce the amount of oil money taken from Congress members in order to break the barriers to clean energy.
  • End Oil Aid This is a coalition of Friends of the Earth, Jubilee USA Network, Oil Change International, and People and Planet to end oil aid. Oil aid is money given by governments to oil companies- sometimes directly through subsidies and sometimes indirectly through the World Bank- in order to expand their industry even though oil companies have some of the highest profits of all the industries. This coalition addresses oil dependence, climate change, and international debt.
  • Iraqi Oil Law Bush and Cheney was pushing for the release of Iraqi control of their oil and putting it into the hands of international oil companies so that they would have more control over oil. While this infringes on rules of sovereignty and the rights of the Iraqi people to their land, it also does not help our dependency on oil- it makes it worse.

Resources and Research

Oil Change International offers several online databases that expose the influence of Big Oil:

  • Follow the Oil Money tracks how much money each member of Congress accepts from the oil industry and how this corresponds with their votes on key climate, energy and security bills. You can search by Congress, zip code, or name; you can also sort by company.
  • Follow the Coal Money details how much money members of Congress have taken from the coal industry. You can search by Congress, zip code, or name; you can also sort by company.
  • End Oil Aid is an interactive tool for tracking subsidies to the international oil industry. You can search for oil aid by donor country, recipient country, or donor financial institution.
  • Oil Change USA, the c4 sister organization to OCI, tracks how much money our Presidential candidates accept from the oil industry. You can also download and print your very own oil dollar bills featuring your member of Congress at the Oil Dollar ATM.

With these online tools, citizens can draw their own conclusions about the influence of corporate oil money in politics.


Related Publications

Antonia Juhasz, a fellow at Oil Change International, has two major books: The Bush Agenda: Invading the World, One Economy at a Time, which exposes oil relations with the Iraq war, and her most recent book The Tyranny of Oil : The World's Most Powerful Industry--and what we must do to stop it, which exposes the relationships between governments and oil.

Juhasz, Antonia. The Bu$H Agenda: Invading the World, One Economy at a Time. New York: HC, 2007.

Juhasz, Antonia. The Tyranny of Oil: The World's Most Powerful Industry--and What We Must Do to Stop It. New York, NY: William Morrow, 2008.

She also had an article published in the New York Times: "Whose Oil is It Anyway" in the March 13, 2007 issue of the New York Times.

Michael Brune, executive director of the Rainforest Action Network, also recently wrote a book called Coming Clean: Breaking America's Addiction to Oil and Coal.

  • Michael Brune, Coming Clean: Breaking America's Addiction to Oil and Coal. San Francisco: Sierra Club Books, 2008.

Poverty, Climate, and Energy: The Case Against Oil Aid. June 2008. Created by Friends of the Earth, WEED- World Economy, Ecology, and Development, Jubilee Sotuh-ampdd, and Oil Change International.

-"The world's most profitable industry is also one of the most polluting." -Kretzmann

"Climate Equity"- A publication of ActionAid USA, Friends of the Earth, Oil Change International, Oxfam America, and US Climate Action Network that describes the various equity issues that arise because of climate change and what can be done to prevent them.

"Aiding Oil: Harming the Climate." December 2007. This is a report release by Oil Change International in relation to the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change to address the issue of oil aid, the government's practice of using taxpayer money, often intended for poverty alleviation, to instead subsidize the oil and gas industry internationally. Oil aid encourages the pursuit of more oil, which results in conflict, poverty, corruption, and contributing to global warming.

Resources and articles

Related Sourcewatch articles

References