ExxonMobile on Tuesday pledged to hit net-zero carbon emissions by 2050, with the hopes of catching up with its rivals like Shell and BP that have already made the commitment.
The American oil and gas corporation estimated it released about 762 million tons of greenhouse gasses in 2020 – 650 million stems from consumption of oil and gas and 112 million tons was from operations.
However, Tuesday’s announcement only focuses on cutting the 112 million tons, which is just 15 percent of Exxon’s total emissions.
‘This announcement is not significant, but it is long overdue,’ Paasha Mahdavi, assistant professor at the University of California, Santa Barbara, told DailyMail.com in a phone interview.
‘Exxon can hit this [112-million-ton] target just by cleaning up its operations such as making sure pipes are not leaking methane, which they should have been doing this entire time.
‘It is still a far cry from what we need to hit climate goals.’
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ExxonMobile on Tuesday pledged to hit net-zero carbon emissions by 2050, with the hopes of catching up with its rivals like Shell and BP that have already made the commitment
Exxon mentioned on Tuesday that it has identified 150 potential steps and modifications to help reach its goals, such as electrification of operations with energy from renewable sources.
‘The net-zero aspiration applies to Scope 1 and Scope 2 greenhouse gas emissions,’ the company shared in the announcement.
Scope 1 covers covers direct emissions from owned or controlled sources and Scope 2 covers indirect emissions from the generation of purchased electricity, steam, heating and cooling consumed by the reporting company.
But Scope 3, which is the largest portion of Exxon’s emissions, is not under the pledge – it includes all other indirect emissions that occur in a company’s value chain.
The American oil and gas corporation estimated it released about 762 million tons of greenhouse gasses in 2020 – 650 million stems from consumption of oil and gas side and 112 million tons is from operations. However, Tuesday’s announcement only focuses on cutting the 112 million tons, which is just 15 percent of Exxon’s total emissions
‘A lot of other companies understand that they will have to change their business models to adhere with regulations,’ Mahdavi said.
‘They are adopting renewable energies, whether it is EVs [electrical vehicles], solar, wind or geothermal.’
‘Exxon, however, is saying ‘we don’t believe in any of that, we believe in the future of oil and gas’. And they are just going to clean up their operations.’
‘That has been their approach for the last decade and they have been the biggest and most profitable company and felt they could win this game – as in be the last one to pump oil.’
‘The reality is none of these companies will be producing oil and gas what we need.’
Mahdavi continued to explain that other, smaller companies that focus on the environment will eventually swoop in and take over the industry.
Exxon mentioned on Tuesday that it has identified 150 potential steps and modifications to help reach its goals, such as electrification of operations with energy from renewable sources. however, the public is skeptical about its pledge
‘This announcement is not significant, but it is long overdue,’ Paasha Mahdavi, assistant professor at the University of California, Santa Barbara, told DailyMail.com in a phone interview. But some say the plan is completely bogus
‘It is good that Exxon is cleaning up methane, but it just fits its own agenda,’ he said.
Although it may sound near impossible to regulate emissions released during consumption of oil and gas, Shell was ordered to reduce its carbon emissions by 45 percent by 2030 in a 2019 court hearing.
The District Court in The Hague stated that the supermajor was responsible for emissions from customers (scope 3 emissions) and suppliers and that the company must comply with the judgment immediately.
Tuesday’s announcement also sparked fury among the public online, with many flocking to Twitter to callout the oil and gas company.
One user said the ‘plan is bogus’ and another tweeted: ‘Never believe Exxon.’
DailyMail.com has contacted ExxonMobile for comment and has yet to receive a response.
Darren Woods, chairman and chief executive officer for ExxonMobile, said in a statement: ‘ExxonMobil is committed to playing a leading role in the energy transition, and Advancing Climate Solutions articulates our deliberate approach to helping society reach a lower-emissions future.
‘We are developing comprehensive roadmaps to reduce greenhouse gas emissions from our operated assets around the world, and where we are not the operator, we are working with our partners to achieve similar emission-reduction results.’
Other steps of the pledge include power and steam co-generation and electrification of operations, using renewable or lower-emission power.
The company expects to finalize detailed roadmaps that address approximately 90 percent of operations-related greenhouse gas emissions by the end of this year, and the remainder will be completed in 2023.
Exxon, however, may not have the best track record when it comes to caring for the environment.
From the 325 oil spills it is responsible for to allegedly misleading the public about climate change for 40 years and its millions of metric tons of carbon emissions each year.
And the company is aware of its environmental blunders.
In October 2020, internal documents obtained by Bloomberg showed Exxon plans to increase carbon-dioxide emissions by 17 percent by 2025.
The amount is equal to extra 23 million tons of carbon dioxide annually, or the entire output of Greece – but it only accounts for emissions from Exxon’s oil and gas production.
Although it may sound near impossible to regulate emissions released during consumption of oil and gas, Shell was ordered to reduce its carbon emissions by 45 percent by 2030 in a 2019 court hearing. This Twitter user believes Exxon is a fraud
The added emissions do not include carbon dioxide from the millions of gas-powered vehicles it fuels, which would quintuple that output to 100 million tons of additional carbon dioxide.
The leaked internal report also calls for the production of a million more barrels of oil a day, the equivalent of nearly 158 million tons of carbon dioxide a year.
Exxon, however, said its Tuesday announcement is to compete with its rivals that are already making moves to reduce emissions.
But in March 2020, Woods dismissed the efforts of BP and shell as window dressing.
‘Individual companies setting targets and then selling assets to another company so that their portfolio has a different carbon intensity has not solved the problem for the world,’ Woods said.
Exxon is focused on ‘taking steps to solve the problem for society as a whole and not try and get into a beauty competition.’
A 2017 study out of Harvard claimed Exxon Mobil misled the public about climate change for over four decades, making ‘explicit factual misrepresentations’ in newspaper ads.
Researchers said that while, as early as 1979, Exxon scientists internally acknowledged burning fossil fuels was adding more carbon dioxide to the atmosphere and causing global temperatures to rise, the company’s position in New York Times advertorials consistently asserted doubt about climate science.
‘It’s past time for Exxon Mobil to take responsibility for the harmful impacts of its oil and gas products,’ said Kathy Mulvey, a campaign director at the Union of Concerned Scientists, told Bloomberg.
‘The world at large and its own investors would benefit from Exxon redirecting its strategy toward the energy we need in a low-carbon future.’