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Behind Closed Doors: Big Oil Talks Broader Emission Cuts

Several of the world’s largest oil companies talked behind closed doors on Wednesday about the potential adoption of more stringent emission reduction targets that could include emissions from the products they sell to end consumers, sources with knowledge of the matter told Bloomberg.

At the World Economic Forum in Davos, where climate change and the urgency to act has taken center stage this year, the top executives of oil companies Chevron, BP, Shell, Total, and Saudi Aramco, among others,  met to discuss whether the industry should start accounting for and drafting emission reduction targets not only for their respective oil production, but also for emissions ‘at the pump’, or the emissions from the fuels they sell.   

According to Bloomberg’s sources, there was agreement that the oil industry should include these so-called Scope 3 emissions, but Big Oil’s chief executives didn’t take any decisions at the Wednesday meeting closed to the press.

In the oil industry, many companies have started to include emissions reporting and monitoring in recent years, but few have pledged to set targets for the products they sell.

In December 2018, in an industry first, Shell said that it plans to set short-term targets for reducing the net carbon footprint of the energy products it sells, and to link those targets with executive remuneration. 

The world needs to get to the point at which it will no longer add to the stock of greenhouse gases, and reducing emissions to net zero “is the only way to go,” Shell’s chief executive Ben van Beurden said this summer, calling on businesses to work together to move faster in addressing climate change.

Related: Oil Diversification Is Already Bearing Fruit For Gulf Economies

However, Shell’s core business is and will continue to be oil and gas for the foreseeable future, van Beurden has said.

The meeting in Davos comes just as the International Energy Agency (IEA) warned in a new report that Big Oil faces “twin threats” in the energy transition—losing profitability as well as social acceptability.

“The oil and gas industry is facing increasing demands to clarify the implications of energy transitions for their operations and business models, and to explain the contributions that they can make to reducing greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions and to achieving the goals of the Paris Agreement,” the IEA said in the report

By Tsvetana Paraskova for Oilprice.com

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