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Why This Matters: Exxon has never pledged to lower oil or gas production nor has it publicly divulged its predictions for its own emissions, but these documents have revealed that Exxon has been carefully assessing how its investment strategy affects its own emissions, and the corporation’s plan to ramp up its oil and gas production will pump 21 million additional metric tons of carbon into the atmosphere per year.
Exxon is one of the largest corporate emitters, and it’s bucking international efforts to rapidly curb greenhouse gas emissions despite its history of spreading misinformation about climate change and misleading its investors on its climate threats.
A reduction in global oil and production is necessary to limit warming to 1.5 degrees Celsius above pre-industrial levels, yet Exxon has signaled that it will not work to be a part of the solution in any way.
Fossil fuel companies have also helped fund Trump’s reelection campaign, after enjoying 4 years of deregulation and tax cuts. Should Joe Biden win the presidential race in November, fossil fuel giants will find their business as usual model of operating challenged. If under a democratic administration, the United States chooses to follow Europe’s goal of climate neutrality, Exxon may find itself in a difficult situation as its business plan will be challenged by a more regulated political environment.
But Exxon’s formidable growth plans seem to ignore these circumstances, as the corporation plans to double earnings by 2025. Exxon explained its rationale in a statement: “As demand returns and capital investments resume, our growth plans will continue to include meaningful emission mitigation efforts.” These mitigation efforts include two dozen emission-lowering measures, like projects to capture carbon, the reduction of methane leaks and flaring, and the use of renewable energy.
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