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Earthworks’ Tricks of the Trade report tracks climate commitments (in their own words) from eight of the leading oil and gas companies operating in the United States—Shell, bp, ExxonMobil, Chevron, Equinor, Occidental, TotalEnergies, and ConocoPhillips—and attempts to decipher what those commitments mean in terms of absolute emissions reductions so they can be compared to what science tells us we must do. Additionally the report identifies three ways companies across the board are moving emissions off their books without actually reducing them.

The report finds that:

  • In 2021 between 40-60% of the claimed emissions reductions for Shell, bp, TotalEnergies, and ConocoPhillips were from divestiture of polluting assets, which pass pollution off to other companies without any effect on global greenhouse gases.
  • Every company’s climate ambitions fall far short of the IPCC’s directive to cut emissions in half by the end of the decade because they omit Scope 3 emissions which make up between 75-90% of their total emissions.
  • No company is providing the data necessary to compare its commitments to reality or to understand what they are committing to in terms of total emissions, especially for their most immediate and critical 2030 goals. Additionally, climate commitments lack consistency in vernacular and reporting, making accountability extremely difficult.
  • Every company is calculating emissions reductions using a reporting process which is known to underestimate methane emissions by as much as 100%
  • Every company is falling short of achieving the goals they have set.