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On the seventh anniversary of the publication of the encyclical Laudato Si’, May 24, an updated analysis has just been published revealing that the oil industry’s climate plans are grossly insufficient to achieve the climate goals of the Paris Agreement.
Titled “Big Oil Reality Check”, the report was published by Oil Change International in collaboration with more than 35 organizations from around the world, including Laudato Si’ Movement.
The report, which updates an inaugural 2020 study, analyzes the latest climate pledges from BP, Chevron, Eni, Equinor, ExxonMobil, Repsol, Shell and TotalEnergies, the world’s top eight oil companies, which are currently involved in more than 200 expansion projects on track for approval from 2022 to 2025.
The report discusses the 10 minimum benchmarks the companies must meet to align with the 1.5 degrees Celsius temperature target outlined in the Paris Agreement, and new criteria highlighting the need to uphold human rights and Indigenous Peoples’ rights, including Free, Prior, and Informed Consent.
“Big oil and gas companies’ climate pledges and plans appear to be designed to disinform and distract, not to seriously confront the climate crisis,” said David Tong, lead author of the report and Global Industry campaign manager at Oil Change International.
The analysis provides new data on the climate threat from the eight companies’ near-term plans to develop new oil and gas extraction projects – plans that clash with the International Energy Agency (IEA)’s conclusion that new oil and gas development should stop after 2021 to keep global temperature increase to below 1.5 degrees Celsius.
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What will happen if the oil companies move forward with their 200 expansion projects? If they go ahead, these companies’ investments could create an additional 8.6 billion tons (Gt) of carbon pollution, equivalent to the lifetime emissions of 77 new coal power plants.
Another study released last week found that burning just the oil, gas, and coal in fields and mines now operating would far exceed the remaining carbon budget for 1.5 degrees Celsius.
“Instead of facing up to the reality of the climate crisis and cutting fossil fuel production, our analysis found that these big oil and gas companies plan to keep adding fuel to the fire,” said Kelly Trout, Research Co-Director at Oil Change International.
Over the past two years, global oil demand has rebounded to pre-pandemic levels, reaching 99.5 million barrels of oil equivalent per day. Additionally, oil prices soared to record highs as countries responded to the Russian invasion of Ukraine, delivering record profits for big oil and gas companies.
Yet, the latest science shows an urgent need to end oil and gas expansion and deliver a rapid managed decline of the fossil fuel industry.
In March 2022, a report by researchers at the Tyndall Center concluded that the wealthiest nations need to end oil and gas production by 2034 to preserve a 50 percent chance to limit warming to 1.5 degrees Celsius.
The latest report by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change shows global fossil fuel emissions – of which oil and gas contribute the largest part – need to decline immediately to preserve a chance at keeping global warming below 1.5 degrees Celsius.
“The companies that have done the most to cause the climate crisis cannot be trusted to meaningfully confront it,” added Tong. “Big oil and gas companies will not manage their own decline. Investors and governments must step up, and help us all break free from the unstable boom-bust cycle of the fossil fuel economy.”
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The report can be found at https://priceofoil.org/big-oil-reality-check-2022.
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