Oil giants' climate commitments lack credibility, report says

The climate commitments of the hydrocarbon giants still often lack credibility and are based on expensive technologies whose effectiveness has not been demonstrated on a large scale, according to a Carbon Tracker report published on Thursday.

Oil giants' climate commitments lack credibility, report says

The climate commitments of the hydrocarbon giants still often lack credibility and are based on expensive technologies whose effectiveness has not been demonstrated on a large scale, according to a Carbon Tracker report published on Thursday.

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The think tank looked at the climate goals of 15 major listed groups. He concludes that most, despite recently raised targets, are not committing to an absolute reduction in their greenhouse gas emissions.

The group of relatively good performers includes only four companies — all of them European — which commit to an absolute reduction in their emissions, an objective which includes the products used by their customers, for example the gasoline burned in cars (on a perimeter called "scope 3").

At the top of the ranking is the Italian group Eni, with a target of reducing its emissions by 35% by 2030, taking into account all its productions. The Spanish Repsol, the French TotalEnergies and the British BP follow.

In a second group (with the Norwegian Equinor, the American Chevron or the Anglo-Dutch Shell), four other companies do not go as far as their competitors: they are content to promise a reduction in the carbon intensity of their production rather than absolute reductions.

In other words, they allow themselves the possibility of increasing their production of fossil fuels if this were counterbalanced by enough new capacity in renewable energies, for example.

Finally, the seven dunces in the ranking, including the American giant ExxonMobil, only promise a reduction in emissions from their own operations.

These companies, all North American, thus leave aside the "scope 3" perimeter (end use), which nevertheless represents the main part of the problem: "95% of the emissions from their products take place during combustion" , points out Carbon Tracker.

The authors also criticize the strategies implemented by the various companies to artificially lower their emissions while continuing to invest in new means of producing hydrocarbons: the sale of assets, the purchase of offsets and the planned recourse to technologies such as carbon capture or planting forests.

It is a bet on technologies “which pose a huge risk for both investors and the climate”, warns Maeve O’Connor, co-author of the report.

“Most of these technologies are still at an early stage of development with few big projects operating at the scale needed to achieve business goals, while solutions that require planting trees require huge land areas,” underlines the analyst.


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