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Despite Recent Commitments, Big Oil Still Behind On Climate Change

As most Big Oil majors have recently made commitments to reduce their carbon footprint and help tackle climate change more actively. According to a new report from anti-oil advocacy Oil Change International, however, they are all falling short of Paris Agreement targets.

The report uses data from Rystad Energy, the International Energy Agency, the World Energy Council, and the Global carbon project to reveal that on a number of indicators related to climate change the supermajors are way off the mark.

Of course, these indicators are, from an industry perspective, questionable. One of them, for instance, is “Stop exploration”. BP is noted as the only major that has made a commitment in this area, after the company said it would stop exploration in new countries. The rest of the majors—Chevron, Eni, Equinor, Exxon, Repsol, Shell, and Total—have made no commitments to any suspension of new exploration.

On another indicator, however, all but the U.S. supermajors have made commitments that put two of them in the “partial alignment” category devised by Oil Change International. The indicator refers to absolute targets in emission reduction from Big Oil’s business. The European majors all have targets but most of them, according to the anti-oil advocacy, are insufficient to meet Paris Agreement targets. Eni is the only one who has done well on this, with OCI judging the Italian company’s emission reduction target as “close to alignment”.

“Each of them wants to remain a fossil fuel giant, only not look like one,” said Mark van Baal from Dutch-based shareholder advocacy group Follow This. “Apparently far more pressure from society and responsible investors is needed to make oil executives see the writing on the wall.”

The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change has recommended that global CO2 emissions are halved by 2030 from 1990 levels in order to prevent average global temperatures from rising by more than 1.5 degrees Celsius.

By Irina Slav for Oilprice.com

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