Quantcast
Environmental News for a Healthier Planet and Life

Exxon's Contradictory Reports Applaud Natural Gas and Fighting Climate Change

Energy
Exxon's Contradictory Reports Applaud Natural Gas and Fighting Climate Change

The good news is that Exxon, the nation’s largest oil and gas company, responded swiftly to shareholder concerns by releasing two reports on the company's long-term climate risk and environmental impact.

The bad news is that the company issued a mixed message in the process. While the company admits that climate change should not be ignored, it also trumpeted the ability of carbon-based fuels to help meet energy demands.

Exxon, the nation's largest oil and natural gas company, quickly issued carbon risk reports, but they contain a mixed message.
Photo courtesy of Shutterstock

"Our analysis and those of independent agencies confirms our long-standing view that all viable energy sources will be essential to meet increasing demand growth that accompanies expanding economies and rising living standards,” William Colton, ExxonMobil’s vice president of corporate strategic planning, said in a company statement.

In the same statement, Colton adds that it is "equally essential" that society invests in research to reduce greenhouse emissions. He said the company is doing the same, emphasizing the production of lower-carbon fuels.

Still, the company says that it will need all of its hydrocarbon reserves to meet global energy demands. Back in December, Craig Mackenzie, head of sustainability at the Scottish Widows Investment Partnership, advised that "the main risk" related to climate change for investors and pension funds was hydrocarbon investment.

As for Exxon's efficiency and emissions reduction efforts, one of the reports, Energy and Carbon—Managing the Risks, states that the huge corporation tries to ease its pressure on the grid by using 100 cogeneration units at more than 30 sites. The reports states that Exxon conserved 8.4 million metric tons of greenhouse gases between 2009 and 2012, compared to previous amounts.

The report also talks about its synthetic lubricants developed to improve vehicle engine efficiency, along with lighter-weight plastics the company developed to reduce vehicle weights to make them more efficient.

Still, the report goes on to applaud Exxon's standing as the largest producer of natural gas. While officials say that natural gas emits 60 percent less carbon dioxide than coal when used as a power source, it still, in fact, emits carbon dioxide, which won't help in the fight against climate change that Colton addressed in the company's statement.

The Fossil Free advocacy organization had a similar view.

"The reports have made it very clear that Exxon have no intention of adapting their business model whatsoever," Fossil Free wrote in a brief analysis of Exxon's announcement. "To stay within the 2 degrees celsius limit, 80 percent of the fossil fuel industries’ known carbon reserves need to remain unburnt. Yet, Exxon is spending $33 billion this year alone to discover and develop yet more carbon."

Exxon's reports were released on the same day that United Nation's Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change issued a report suggesting that climate change could impact our food and water supply and lead to resource wars in the future.

Relying on Bloomberg's Carbon Risk Valuation Tool, Fossil Free estimates that Exxon's reserves could eventually turn into stranded assets that decline share prices by 45 percent.

"It’s wrong to profit from an industry that is wrecking our future and fiduciary duty must reflect that," the organization writes. "Institutional investors in particular must start to play an active stewardship role with the funds they are entrusted with.

"Investors need to pull their money out of high-carbon assets as quickly as possible."

In March, social responsibility investment firm Arjuna Capital filed a request for carbon risk reports through a partnership with shareholder responsibility advocacy group As You Sow. It marked the first time Exxon has ever agreed to such disclosure or received such a request.

——–

YOU ALSO MIGHT LIKE

Oil and Gas Giant Exxon Agrees to Its First Carbon Risk Disclosure

——–

A sea turtle rescued from Israel's devastating oil spill. MENAHEM KAHANA / AFP via Getty Images

Rescue workers in Israel are using a surprising cure to save the sea turtles harmed by a devastating oil spill: mayonnaise!

Read More Show Less

EcoWatch Daily Newsletter

A "digital twin of Earth." European Space Agency

As the weather grows more severe, and its damages more expensive and fatal, current weather predictions fall short in providing reliable information on Earth's rapidly changing systems.

Read More Show Less

Trending

Melting ice in places such as Greenland could stop a critical ocean current. Paul Souders / Getty Images

The climate crisis could push an important ocean current past a critical tipping point sooner than expected, new research suggests.

Read More Show Less
California Gov. Gavin Newsom tours the Chevron oil field west of Bakersfield, where a spill of more than 900,000 gallons flowed into a dry creek bed, on July 24, 2019. Irfan Khan / Los Angeles Times via Getty Images

By Brett Wilkins

Accusing California regulators of "reckless disregard" for public "health and safety," the environmental advocacy group Center for Biological Diversity on Wednesday sued the administration of Gov. Gavin Newsom for approving thousands of oil and gas drilling and fracking projects without the required environmental review.

Read More Show Less
Nobel Peace Prize Laureate and Kenyan professor Wangari Maathai poses during the COP15 UN Climate Change Conference in Copenhagen, Denmark on December 15, 2009. Olivier Morin / AFP / Getty Images

By Kate Whiting

From Greta Thunberg to Sir David Attenborough, the headline-grabbing climate change activists and environmentalists of today are predominantly white. But like many areas of society, those whose voices are heard most often are not necessarily representative of the whole.

Read More Show Less