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ExxonMobil Releases Climate Impact Report

Energy
ExxonMobil Releases Climate Impact Report
Exxon refinery in Baton Rouge, Louisiana. Gary Jones / Flickr

World demand for oil could dip substantially by 2040 if policies to curb warming are aggressively implemented, ExxonMobil said in a climate-impact analysis released Friday.

The oil giant's shareholders, including financial giants BlackRock and Vanguard, backed a proposal last year requiring Exxon to provide analysis of how climate policies will impact its bottom line in an increasingly warming world.


The analysis paints a mostly rosy future for the oil and gas industry, saying that even aggressive climate policy poses "little risk" to the company. However, the report does not address the multiple lawsuits facing Exxon and other fossil fuel giants, while some of the company's analysis—including its predictions for the number of electric vehicles on the road by 2040 and the assumption that carbon capture technologies will allow the continued use of fossil fuels—has been challenged by experts.

As reported by the New York Times:

"Some climate campaigners were unimpressed with Exxon's climate analysis. 'The range of risks that Exxon faces if climate action is taken is far deeper than what's being presented here,' said Adam Scott, a senior adviser at Oil Change International, an energy research and advocacy group.

He and others pointed out that Exxon, for instance, has assumed the development of technologies such as carbon capture that would allow the use of fossil fuels to continue with lower emissions. Also, Exxon didn't address what might happen if countries agreed to make considerably more aggressive cuts designed to hold global warming to 1.5 degrees Celsius above preindustrial levels, as urged by the Paris agreement ...

'ExxonMobil's own analysis assumes the world will continue to burn through oil and gas to drive its profits, keeping us on a path toward global temperatures rising well above the 2 degree Celsius threshold' said Kathy Mulvey, climate accountability manager at the Union of Concerned Scientists."

For a deeper dive:

New York Times, FT, Reuters, AP, Axios, Quartz, The Hill

For more climate change and clean energy news, you can follow Climate Nexus on Twitter and Facebook, and sign up for daily Hot News.

A plume of smoke from wildfires burning in the Angeles National Forest is seen from downtown Los Angeles on Aug. 29, 2009 in Los Angeles, California. Kevork Djansezian / Getty Images

California is bracing for rare January wildfires this week amid damaging Santa Ana winds coupled with unusually hot and dry winter weather.

High winds, gusting up to 80- to 90 miles per hour in some parts of the state, are expected to last through Wednesday evening. Nearly the entire state has been in a drought for months, according to the U.S. Drought Monitor, which, alongside summerlike temperatures, has left vegetation dry and flammable.

Utilities Southern California Edison and PG&E, which serves the central and northern portions of the state, warned it may preemptively shut off power to hundreds of thousands of customers to reduce the risk of electrical fires sparked by trees and branches falling on live power lines. The rare January fire conditions come on the heels of the worst wildfire season ever recorded in California, as climate change exacerbates the factors causing fires to be more frequent and severe.

California is also experiencing the most severe surge of COVID-19 cases since the beginning of the pandemic, with hospitals and ICUs over capacity and a stay-at-home order in place. Wildfire smoke can increase the risk of adverse health effects due to COVID, and evacuations forcing people to crowd into shelters could further spread the virus.

As reported by AccuWeather:

In the atmosphere, air flows from high to low pressure. The setup into Wednesday is like having two giant atmospheric fans working as a team with one pulling and the other pushing the air in the same direction.
Normally, mountains to the north and east of Los Angeles would protect the downtown which sits in a basin. However, with the assistance of the offshore storm, there will be areas of gusty winds even in the L.A. Basin. The winds may get strong enough in parts of the basin to break tree limbs and lead to sporadic power outages and sparks that could ignite fires.
"Typically, Santa Ana winds stay out of downtown Los Angeles and the L.A. Basin, but this time, conditions may set up just right to bring 30- to 40-mph wind gusts even in those typically calm condition areas," said AccuWeather Senior Meteorologist Mike Doll.

For a deeper dive:

AP, LA Times, San Francisco Chronicle, Washington Post, Weather Channel, AccuWeather, New York Times, Slideshow: New York Times; Climate Signals Background: Wildfires, 2020 Western wildfire season

For more climate change and clean energy news, you can follow Climate Nexus on Twitter and Facebook, sign up for daily Hot News, and visit their news site, Nexus Media News.

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