Los bilionarios who don’t want our children breathing clean air

An affordable and healthy future means we must turn to renewable energy and fight disinformation.

As the world transitions to clean and affordable energy sources, powered primarily by the sun and wind, some of the wealthiest corporations in the world continue to promote the dirty oil and gas economy. One of their false arguments is that solar and wind energy only benefit the wealthy, when in fact oil and gas companies make hundreds of billions of dollars in profits every year, with record profits again this year.

A recent report by the research firm Graphika, reveals a coordinated disinformation campaign on social media to convince Spanish speakers in the U.S. that renewable energy is “elitist” and only serves business interests. The truth is that prices for wind and solar technology have plummeted in the last decade and that renewable energy is cleaner, cheaper and safer for everyone. Scientists have said that we need to quickly reduce the amount of oil, gas and coal we use and transition to renewable energy if we want to save the planet. 

The report, “Rumores Renovables: Analyzing the Online Ecosystem of Spanish-Speaking Communities Opposed to Renewable Energy Initiatives,” shows how a broad network of anti-renewables accounts on social media — many originating in Spain, and rooted in far-right Spanish politics — are using false narratives and conspiracy theories to make renewable energy look bad. This is a tactic that oil and gas companies have practiced for decades, and it’s a tactic that directly benefits their own bottom lines.

How to Spot Anti-renewables Disinformation

Climate disinformation is deceptive or misleading content that seeks to deny the role that humans have played in polluting our planet or to delay the need for urgent action to reverse our effects on the atmosphere. Whenever you see information about climate change or renewable energy, especially online, it is a good idea to ask yourself: Who benefits from this information? 

The “Rumores Renovables” (renewable rumors) report looks at several lies that are being propagated online about renewable energy in particular: the lies that renewable energy projects are responsible for forest fires (they are not), that it harms animals (no evidence of this), and that it benefits “elites.”

That narrative is rooted in conspiracy theories designed to drive a wedge through our communities, setting up an “us and them” mentality. In addition to the term “elites,” you may also hear conspiracy theories about the United Nations, about sustainable development, or even COVID-19 denial conspiracy theories or outright racism. These are all coded terms meant to poison the idea of renewable energy in Latino communities.

But ask yourself: What do these allegations have to do with me and my community?

The Role of Renewables in Our Communities

Renewable energy now provides over 20% of US energy needs and wind and solar energy are projected to double capacity in the next few years. Renewable energy is popular in Latino communities and is good for jobs, health, and family budgets.

  • 80% of Latino voters in the U.S. say it is important or very important to increase clean energy sources, according to a recent poll
  • Solar panel costs have dropped 80% since 2008. Many power companies will actually pay you for the power you generate in your own home.
  • Some areas also have access to community solar projects, where you can subscribe to a larger solar field, if you can’t afford the cost of panels on your own residence. 
  • Renewable energy is more distributed than oil and gas. That means it is less of a security risk, it’s safer to produce, it can be owned by your community, and it can be generated at the regional, local and even street level, reducing widespread brownouts and blackouts. 
  • Renewable energy relies on the power of the sun and wind — both of which are free, abundant and natural.

Finally, renewable energy does not pollute our communities, helping reduce asthma and cancer risk, clearing up the skies and eventually reversing the trend of a heating planet.

Renewable Energy in the United States


Big Oil are the Real Villains 

The false idea that renewable energy, as opposed to fossil fuels, is “elite” is easy to debunk when oil and gas CEOs are making hundreds of millions a year in salaries. The Exxon CEO made $35.9 million last year, getting more than a 50% raise, on $56 billion in profit, while Exxon workers median pay actually FELL 9%. 

Again, ask yourself who is benefiting? Those CEOs have every reason in the world to delay our transition to renewable energy. Our communities have dozens of reasons to embrace renewable energy. The choice is yours.