ExxonMobil Plans to Emit 21 Million Additional Tons of Carbon Per Year

by Natasha Lasky, ODP Contributing Writer 


Leaked internal documents from Exxon Mobil reveal that the corporation is planning for an increase in its annual carbon emissions by as much as the output of the entire nation of Greece. While plummeting oil prices in April drove Exxon to cut a third of its spending budget, these documents made clear that this reduction in oil drilling and refining would be only temporary.

Exxon is the largest oil producer in the United States — and unlike BP and Shell who are starting to curb oil and gas extraction and reach net-zero emissions, Exxon’s investment strategy indicates yearly emissions will rise 17% by 2025.

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.

Exxon’s Political Outlook: Moreover, Exxon has helped elect climate-denying politicians that in turn push a deregulatory agenda to help big polluters get off the hook for the damage they’ve caused. Worse yet, Darren Woods, the CEO of Exxon, went to White House earlier this year to discuss reopening America’s economy after his company helped bankroll President Trump’s inauguration. 

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. 


What about the Pandemic? The oil and gas industry had been devastated by the COVID-19 pandemic, since the demand for oil plummeted and prices fell accordingly. Exxon was hit especially hard — its share price is currently hovering near an 18-year low, and the company last week warned of a third consecutive quarterly loss.

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

However, these mitigation efforts seem marginal compared with the plans outlined in the rest of these internal documents. Carrying out Exxon’s $210 billion investment strategy would require the corporation to manufacture an additional 1 million barrels of oil a day, which would cause the company’s greenhouse gas emissions to increase by 143 million tons of carbon per year


Up Next

China Pledges to Stop Financing Coal Projects Abroad

China Pledges to Stop Financing Coal Projects Abroad

By Amy Lupica, ODP Daily Editor Just weeks after China’s coal ambitions brought tensions to climate talks between US Climate Envoy John Kerry and Chinese officials, President Xi Jinping pledged to end all its financing of coal-fired projects abroad and allocate more funding to green and low-carbon energy projects in developing nations. The move represents […]

Continue Reading 464 words
Three-Fourths of the Worlds Planned Coal Projects Scrapped Since 2015

Three-Fourths of the Worlds Planned Coal Projects Scrapped Since 2015

By Amy Lupica, ODP Daily Editor A new report has found that since the 2015 signing of the Paris agreement, more than 75% of the world’s planned coal plant projects have been scrapped, and 44 countries have no future coal plans whatsoever. The report’s authors hope this trend will continue as the COP26 conference in […]

Continue Reading 475 words
House Ways and Means Committee Unveils Clean Energy Tax Credits

House Ways and Means Committee Unveils Clean Energy Tax Credits

By Amy Lupica, ODP Daily Editor The House Ways and Means Committee has released their portion of the reconciliation for the Democrats’ $3.5 trillion spending package. The plan follows through on many promises made by the Biden administration, including clean energy tax credits and credits for electric vehicle owners. The plan, announced on the heels […]

Continue Reading 365 words

Want the planet in your inbox?

Subscribe to the email that top lawmakers, renowned scientists, and thousands of concerned citizens turn to each morning for the latest environmental news and analysis.