Venice – Greenpeace Italy activists on traditional wooden rowing boats peacefully protested at Venice’s world-famous landmarks, including St. Mark’s Square and the Bridge of Sighs, warning that they would soon be submerged if the fossil fuels industry continues its greenwashing agenda. 

Yesterday, whilst moving through the canals of the lagoon city carrying the logos of major European fossil and gas companies, the activists ironically announced The Last Tour of Venice, as the city, listed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site, is famously at risk of sinking due to climate impacts in the Mediterranean region. Greenpeace is calling for a new law that bans fossil fuel advertising and sponsorship in the European Union to prevent the fossil fuel industry from promoting false solutions and delaying climate action. 

Federico Spadini, Greenpeace Italy Climate Campaigner said: “While Venice is getting bad publicity for its recurring floods and its own existence is at risk due to the climate catastrophe, oil companies that caused it are using advertising and sponsorship to clean their image, just as tobacco manufacturers did in the past. We need a new EU law to stop ads and sponsorships by the companies that are working to keep Europe hooked on oil. If we don’t embrace a green and just energy transition, the last tourist trip to Venice could soon become a tragic reality.”

Venice is already facing direct effects of the climate crisis. UNESCO conducted a study listing the consequences of climate change for the city and warned it could lose its World Heritage Site status.[1] According to a study by Greenpeace Italy using data from the Italian National Agency for New Technologies, Energy and Sustainable Economic Development (ENEA), by the end of the century the sea level in Venice could rise by more than a meter. 

Last year, an investigation by DeSmog and Greenpeace Netherlands reviewed more than 3000 ads by six energy companies Shell, Total Energies, Preem, Eni, Repsol and Fortum on Twitter, Facebook, Instagram and YouTube. Researchers found that almost two thirds of the six oil companies’ advertisements assessed were greenwash — misleading consumers by failing to accurately reflect the companies’ business as well as promoting false solutions.

Greenpeace is promoting a European Citizens’ Initiative (ECI) to ban advertisements and sponsorships of fossil fuel companies. If an ECI reaches one million verified signatures by October, then the European Commission is legally obliged to respond and discuss a legislative proposal to put an end to misleading propaganda by the fossil fuel industry.


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[1] UNESCO- Report of the joint WHC/ICOMOS/Ramsar Advisory mission to Venice and its Lagoon


Sol Gosetti, Media Coordinator Fossil Free Revolution, Greenpeace Netherlands: [email protected], +54 (11) 28313271 WhatsApp +44 (0) 7380845754

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