Home Business Oil companies reject the “energy transition”, even when they announce it

Oil companies reject the “energy transition”, even when they announce it


According to documents obtained by The Post, which will be released by the House of Representatives, some of the world’s major oil companies are skeptical of the “energy transition to a low-carbon economy,” even though they present their firms as partners in the effort. committee on Friday.

Documents, a The data, expected to be released by the House Oversight and Reform Committee, reveals that oil company executives are dismissive of the potential for renewable energy to quickly replace fossil fuels while working to secure government tax credits for carbon capture projects. they change their business models.

The documents – many of which are copies of internal emails between oil company officials – describe ExxonMobil’s efforts to convince major industrial firms and oil giants to co-sponsor a mammoth carbon capture project in Texas in 2021. Elsewhere, in a series of emails, company officials discuss whether BP, Shell and TotalEnergies – the French oil company – are increasing their carbon footprints by selling interests in the Canadian oil sands to other eager investors.

Big oil companies have come under fire for selling oil sands properties to smaller entities, effectively shifting their carbon footprint. In response to that criticism, one spokesman said: “Instead of tearing it down, what exactly should we do … pour concrete over the oil sands and burn the land so nobody can take them?”

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Scientists say the world needs to transition quickly from fossil fuels to avoid the worst expected effects of climate change.

for more than a year the committee is investigating several major oil companies along with the two largest trade groups in Washington, the American Petroleum Institute and the US Chamber of Commerce. The inquiry sought documents on the industry’s campaigns to influence public opinion and policy on climate change.

The committee says the industry misleads the public by advertising a commitment to cleaner energy, even though it invests disproportionately in fossil fuels. In an earlier release of documents on September 14, the committee accused oil companies of continued deception, following earlier revelations about oil companies trying to undermine the credibility of climate science.

“Instead of publicly denying global warming, the fossil fuel industry has ‘greened’ its record through deceptive advertising and climate promises without significantly reducing emissions,” the committee said in a memo.

Each company featured in the report, including ExxonMobil, Chevron, BP and Shell in addition to the American Petroleum Institute, was asked by the committee to provide about 15 to 30 documents.

Among the biggest issues was ExxonMobil’s effort to drum up support for a $100 billion carbon capture project south of Houston. Potential partners told ExxonMobil that they would only partner with other companies “with credible climate credentials and name recognition.”

“Chevron considers Exxon’s tonnage saved, jobs saved, jobs created to be inflated – but harmlessly inflationary,” an email said of Exxon’s proposal. “Chevron has had an internal disagreement over the Houston-based issue, but it is viewed as a minor shareholder concern. There is some minor concern in some Chevron quarters about Exxon’s reputation.

Many companies were hesitant about the Houston project, although many of them now support the proposal. ExxonMobil is still looking to the federal government as a potential source of tax credits to help cut costs. Tax credits were dramatically expanded under the recent Inflation Relief Act.

In another email exchange, in 2016 an oil company official cited the need to burnish the company’s image in the face of criticism from climate activists, including Naomi Oreskes, a Harvard University scholar and author of a book on oil industry public relations. campaigns.

“Right now, people like Naomi Oreskes (Merchants of Doubt) are labeling people like us as ‘climate deniers’ because we don’t believe that renewable energy will solve the entire transition, or that it can be done in a few decades. ” wrote the official.

The documents also detail a 2017 dispute between outgoing Shell CEO Ben van Beurden and Fred Krupp, president of the Environmental Defense Fund, an advocacy organization. The release of methane throughout the natural gas supply chain makes it as bad a greenhouse gas energy source as coal, Krupp said.

“I am very disappointed in the service he has given to the good efforts that we should stand shoulder to shoulder in principle,” van Beurden said of Krupp, canceling a meeting between the two. He said the EDF president’s comments “go a step too far for me”.

Krupp said in an email today that it has since spoken with van Beurden and other senior executives. “Industry continues to emit large amounts of methane and EDF continues to press them publicly and privately to take action to plug these leaks,” he said.

The documents obtained by The Post are just some of the documents a House committee is expected to release Friday to further denounce what it calls “greenwashing” of the oil industry. A company official estimated that the requested documents numbered more than a million pages.

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