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.
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"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.
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By Naomi Larsson
For centuries, the delicate silver dove has been a symbol of love and fidelity.
Biodiversity and Habitat Loss<p>Their near extinction is a symbol of the <a href="https://www.dw.com/en/global-biodiversity-outlook-targets-extinction-summit-new-york-pledge/a-54932895" target="_blank">biodiversity crisis</a> in the UK, largely driven by habitat destruction. Britain is now one of the countries with the most <a href="https://www.wwf.org.uk/future-of-UK-nature#:~:text=The%20UK%20is%20one%20of,than%20half%20are%20in%20decline" target="_blank">depleted nature</a> in the world according to the World Wildlife Fund. Half its plant and animal species are in decline and more than <a href="https://www.rspb.org.uk/about-the-rspb/about-us/media-centre/press-releases/let-nature-sing-wales/#:~:text=a%20natural%20tragedy.-,Over%2040%20million%20birds%20have%20vanished%20from%20UK%20skies%20in,unaware%20of%20the%20impending%20danger" target="_blank">40 million birds</a> have vanished in just half a century.</p><p>"[Turtle doves] are the canary in the [coal] mine because there are all these other species before it and after it," said Tree. "It's an umbrella for all the other species that are heading that way."</p><p>Turtle doves migrate south through Europe to sub-Saharan Africa between July and September, ending up in dry woodland and farmland areas of countries like Mali and Senegal for winter. </p><p>Droughts in West Africa and the Sahel region are believed to have contributed to the fall in turtle dove species recorded in northern Europe, with low rainfall reducing supplies of the seeds and insects the birds rely on for energy for the long journey home.</p>
Conservation and Farming<p><a href="https://www.operationturtledove.org/" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">Operation Turtle Dove,</a> a partnership project of charities including the Essex Wildlife trust, works with landowners and farmers to actively build turtle dove habitat.</p><p>Outten works with <a href="https://www.ebws.org.uk/birdsites/blue-house-farm-ewt-north-fambridge" target="_blank">Blue House Farm</a>, a 660-acre nature reserve in the UK county of Essex, where they have replicated weedy fallow plots. </p><p>"We work on it every year to make sure it's in the condition it needs to be with plants such as clovers and black medic," Outten said. "These plants are native to the landscape and produce the seed the birds feed on." </p><p>The birds eat a wide range of seeds from various plants that would have been abundant 50 or 100 years ago, added Guy Anderson, program manager for species recovery with The Royal Society for the Protection of Birds (RSPB). </p><p>"But it's simply true that with the gradual process of <a href="https://www.dw.com/en/farming-without-pesticides-how-can-we-make-agriculture-greener/a-52216796" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">intensifying our agricultural production</a>, the availability of those seeds has dropped and dropped," said Anderson.</p><p>Part of the project includes supplementary feeding — providing sources of food in the form of seed or grain. Under the Countryside Stewardship Scheme in England, farmers can receive financial support to create a turtle dove habitat. </p><p>Though they haven't recorded an increase in doves across the sites in the four years of working on the project, Outten said they are seeing improvements in how landowners and farmers manage habitat for the birds. </p>
A Turtle Dove Haven<p>The 3,500-acre Knepp Estate in West Sussex is another project taking a different approach and one of the few places where turtle dove numbers are increasing.</p><p>Isabella Tree and her husband Charlie Burrell converted their intensively farmed land into a rewilding project almost 20 years ago. They have let the land return to nature.</p><p>Just one year after they'd finished <a href="https://www.dw.com/en/uks-most-talented-architects-are-not-human/a-35952128" target="_blank">rewilding</a> the southern part of their property, they heard turtle doves for the first time. It's now a breeding hotspot for the birds with an estimated 19 pairs. Knepp is also home to <a href="https://www.rewildingbritain.org.uk/rewilding/rewilding-projects/knepp-estate" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">2% of the UK's population</a> of nightingales. </p><p>Tree is critical of supplementary feeding schemes that, in her view, are short term. She questions the chances of turtle doves getting to feed on scattered seeds before other mammals eat them first.</p>
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