“In its annual Energy and Carbon Summary, the oil company offers a bizarre account of how it’s going to help address climate change while increasing production.”
“Seemingly a month ago, on Tuesday, Exxon Mobil released its annual Energy & Carbon Summary. For the first time, the company reported its Scope 3 emissions. Those are emissions generated across the so-called value chain of its products, from the steel it buys to build drilling rigs to the emissions given off when the oil Exxon sells is burned in a gas tank on the highway. Traditionally, Exxon has reported only emissions from its production process and energy use, holding out as competitors began disclosing end-use emissions as well. As it happens, Exxon’s Scope 3 emissions for 2019—the year this report analyzed—were roughly on par with the national emissions of Canada.
This was the detail most coverage focused on. But in fact, the report is a much stranger document than that single statistic suggests. Its 54 pages are an example of a slick new public relations campaign, dressed as scientific pragmatism. Conveniently, the report ignores that Exxon spent years funding groups that cast doubt on the scientific consensus about the climate crisis. And it deflects questions about what kind of action is now needed to respond to it.
Boasting that the company is “proactively engaging on climate-related policy,” Exxon states that it has “participated in the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) since its inception in 1988.” What exactly was it doing there?”