For all their rhetoric about supporting a low-carbon transition, the world’s 24 biggest publicly-traded fossils devoted just 1.3% of their budgets to clean energy in 2018, with European producers vastly outpacing their counterparts in the United States and Asia, according to a new report this week by the UK non-profit CDP Worldwide.
Even that paltry commitment was an improvement over the 0.68% they invested between 2010 and 2018, Reuters reports.
“This 1% figure pales in comparison with the amount of money Big Oil spends blocking climate initiatives and regulations, and invests in fossil fuel projects that have no place in a well-below 2.0°C world,” said ShareAction campaigner Jeanne Martin. “Investors need to step up their engagement and tell fossil fuel companies to align their business models with the goals of the Paris Agreement.”
Reuters states that “companies such as Royal Dutch Shell, Total, and BP have in recent years accelerated spending on wind and solar power as well as battery technologies, seeking a larger role in global efforts to slash carbon emissions to battle global warming.” Over the same period, investors have “ratcheted up pressure on boards of fossil fuel companies, including ExxonMobil, the world’s largest publicly-traded oil company, to reduce emissions, spend more on low-carbon energy, and increase disclosure on climate change.”
But “the transatlantic divide remains wide,” with European fossils accounting for about 70% of the industry’s renewable energy capacity and almost all the new capacity now under development. “With less domestic pressure to diversify, U.S. companies have not embraced renewables in the same way as their European peers,” the CDP report stated.
Since the 2015 Paris Agreement, the two dozen colossal fossils have signed 148 deals for alternative energy or carbon capture, utilization, and storage technologies since 2016, while touting natural gas as a supposedly climate-friendly replacement for coal, Reuters notes. But a separate report last week by the Transition Pathway Initiative found that only two of the top 10 publicly-traded fossils, Shell and Total, have Paris-compliant emission reduction targets.
TPI “spent some quality time digging into the ‘Scope 3’ emissions of the industry, which assesses the emissions generated from the use of each company’s products in electricity generation, industry, and transport,” CleanTechnica reports. “In the oil and gas industry, these emissions represent the bulk of the emissions from the company, typically accounting for more than 80% of the carbon footprint.”
Beyond Shell and Total, the study found that “BP, ConocoPhillips, and Eni have set emission reduction targets that reduce the carbon emission intensity of their internal operations without acknowledging the emissions of downstream consumers of their products,” CleanTechnica notes. “These companies leave the majority of the emissions on the table and leave it in the hands of the customers to drive meaningful reductions in emissions.”
But the “most awkward of the findings from the research was that half of the companies—Chevron, EOG Resources, ExxonMobil, Occidental, and Reliance—have no quantified targets to reduce internal or external emissions…at all,” writes correspondent Kyle Field. “This, my friends, is the failure of the system, and speaks loudly to the fact that the oil and gas majors of the world might be talking a good game when it comes to climate change, emissions, and the energy transition, but in reality, are doing nothing about it.”