It’s time for a Big Oil reality check. In its most recent report, Oil Change International (OIC) exposes once again the fossil fuel sector’s wretched failure to address climate change. Big Oil Reality Check shows how major U.S. and European oil and gas companies are failing to meet the bare minimum for alignment with the Paris Agreement.
Big Oil won’t even meet the bare minimum
“If these companies were serious about the climate crisis, we wouldn’t see them engaged in as many as, or more than, 200 new expansion projects potentially over the next four years,” Kelly Trout (Research Director, Oil Change International) told Canada’s National Observer in an interview. “It’s pretty laughable to claim that there can be any new oil and gas approved that’s actually compatible with 1.5C.”
8 oil & gas companies have over 200 expansion projects planned over the next four years, despite the @IPCC_CH‘s warning that exisitng infrastructure will use up our carbon budget, according to a new report by @PriceofOil. #ClimateCrisis #FossilFuels https://t.co/0W2LwrtnHP
— Below2°C (@Below2C_) June 16, 2022
It’s clear that the eight companies included in the analysis—BP, Chevron, Eni, Equinor, ExxonMobil, Repsol, Shell, TotalEnergies—do not intend to self-manage the winding down of their oil and gas production and transition to clean energy. Their expansion plans would dump an extra 8.6 billion tonnes of carbon pollution in the atmosphere — the equivalent of the lifetime emissions of 77 new coal power plants.
“No major oil and gas company considered in this analysis comes anywhere close to the bare minimum for alignment with the Paris Agreement. The only way to move off fossil fuels is for public and private-sector decision-makers to stop permitting and financing their expansion, and to take meaningful action to replace demand for fossil fuels with clean solutions.” — Kelly Trout, Research Director, Oil Change International
Distract and disinform
“Big oil and gas companies’ climate pledges and plans appear to be designed to disinform and distract, not to seriously confront the climate crisis,” says David Tong, lead author of the report and Global Industry campaign manager at Oil Change International. “This new analysis shows that not even one of the eight oil majors considered comes anywhere close to aligning their businesses with what’s needed for 1.5ºC.”
This latest OIC report follows a November 2021 analysis of the climate plans of major oil and gas companies operating in Canada — CNRL, Cenovus, Suncor, Imperial (ExxonMobil), Tourmaline, ARC Resources, Ovintiv, Shell. The expansion plans of these companies alone “would undo climate action taking place in Canada on other sources of emissions,” said Dale Marshall, National Climate Program Manager at Environmental Defence.
“The industry that has done the most to cause the climate crisis won’t solve it. Big oil and gas companies across Canada and the world will not manage their own decline…The reality is that to limit warming to 1.5ºC, we need a managed decline in oil and gas production.” — David Tong, Global Industry Campaign Manager at Oil Change International.
Excerpts from the conclusion of the report
- The companies that have collectively done the most to fuel the climate crisis cannot be trusted to meaningfully confront it.
- Big oil and gas companies will not manage their own decline. Investors and governments must intervene.
- The reality is that, so long as an oil company pursues expansion plans, it is not in transition.
- We need a managed decline in fossil fuel production, with some existing fields and mines being closed early alongside meaningful just transition measures.
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