Oil & gas industry climate commitment is talk, not action, until proven otherwise

Statement of Earthworks' Policy Director Lauren Pagel

Today the Oil & Gas Climate Initiative announced concrete methane reduction commitments on behalf of its member companies, which include many of the industry’s largest companies. In response Earthworks’ Policy Director releases this statement:

“The history of the oil and gas industry, and its operations today, show its promises don’t mean much.

Meaningful standards, robustly enforced, are the only way to ensure the oil and gas industry walks its talk. Given that their talk would have them behaving more responsibly than the EPA methane safeguards that the Trump Administration is rolling back, OGCI member companies’ continuing lack of public support for those rules can only be interpreted as putting the lie to their promises.

Ultimately, reduction of oil and gas methane pollution intensity doesn’t protect the climate, absolute methane pollution reduction does. That’s another reason we are skeptical of OGCI. The only way to avoid catastrophic climate change is to end entirely our reliance on fossil fuels by a rapid, clean and just transition to a renewables-based economy.”

Background/Reporter invitation

The oil and gas industry has been promising for almost a decade to reduce its methane pollution. They have failed, as NASA demonstrated earlier this year when it published a paper identifying the oil and gas industry as the main contributor to the rise in global methane concentrations since the onset of the fracking boom.

As climate matters have grown more urgent, the oil and gas industry has increased the intensity of it climate commitment rhetoric, as with today’s statement by OGCI.

Earthworks is in the field at least monthly with an optical gas imaging camera recording methane pollution from oil and gas operations. We know first hand that even the most virtuous sounding companies, like ExxonMobil subsidiary XTO, do not walk their talk.

Any reporter who would like to join us on these trips (which occur at least monthly around the United States in major oil and gas producing regions), don’t hesitate to reach out to us. We will be happy to work with you to show you the reality of oil and gas facilities’ methane pollution.

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