Exxon’s Climate Strategy: from Denial to Delay

For decades ExxonMobil has known the realities of their role in creating the climate crisisRather than acting on their own science, they spent a fortune trying to deny it.

Today investors, foreign importers, and consumers are calling on major oil and gas companies like Exxon to reconcile with their complicity and begin making real change–demanding an embrace for clean energy and a reduction in carbon emissions. 

In response to this Exxon has moved on from climate denial and on to climate delay. 

Rather than dealing with their pollution problem right now through common sense emissions reductions efforts, they have continued their deceptive ways by announcing “climate commitments” that commit to marginal emissions reductions and kick the can down the road at the public’s expense. They want to get the pressure off their backs without making concessions.

ExxonMobil’s newest climate strategy relies solely on carbon capture and storage (an unproven and expensive technology) rather than renewables or reducing their overall emissions and production of oil and gas. Furthermore, they want the U.S. government to pay for some of the $100 billion dollars it will take to build just one carbon capture facility. 

What matters for climate is action today. And in that regard Exxon has come up short:

  • Exxon has not committed to any overall emissions reductions (Meanwhile, our certified thermographers find they are polluting methane right now.)
  • Exxon has not committed to Scope 3 emissions reductions (Scope 3 emissions are from the use of their oil and gas, which make up 90-95% of all associated emissions).
  • Exxon has not committed to cutting overall methane emissions
  • Exxon has not committed to reducing production (in fact they had secret plans to increase it)
  • Exxon has not supported measures to require monthly leak detection at wells
  • Exxon has not supported current congressional efforts to reinstate methane rules for oil and gas (Despite claiming they support direct federal methane regulations)

Our best understanding tells us that we must cut greenhouse gas emissions by 50% by the end of the decade, but Exxon has shown a real aversion to doing that–embracing their public relations department over renewable innovation. 

Though they would like you to believe differently, Exxon’s business model hasn’t really changed. It is and always has been to delay the public’s awareness of their risk at all costs. If they were serious about acting on climate they would support rules that require immediate action to cut methane emissions from their production by 65%.