Science Group Says ExxonMobil’s Five-year “Emissions Reduction Plan” is Too Little, Too Late

Statement by Kathy Mulvey, Union of Concerned Scientists

Published Dec 14, 2020

WASHINGTON—Today, ExxonMobil announced its plan to reduce heat-trapping emissions over the next five years. The company claims this plan will support the goals of the Paris climate agreement, yet according to the Union of Concerned Scientists (UCS) the measures announced today are woefully inadequate and not in keeping with what science deems necessary to limiting warming to well below 2 degrees Celsius—and as close to 1.5 degrees Celsius as possible—in order to stave off the worst climate change impacts.

Below is a statement by Kathy Mulvey, accountability director in the Climate and Energy Program at UCS.

“ExxonMobil’s newly announced five-year plan is too little, too late. The company’s emissions reduction pledges don’t even match the aims of its European competitors and fall far short of what is needed to meet the principal goal of the Paris Agreement.

“Of greatest note, ExxonMobil still is dodging its responsibility for heat-trapping emissions resulting from the burning of its oil and gas products. ExxonMobil now says it will disclose these emissions, which make up the lion’s share—roughly 80 to 90 percent—of company emissions. However, in the same breath ExxonMobil attempts to shift their responsibility to the consumers using its products exactly as the company intends them to be used. According to the latest science, ExxonMobil was the fourth leading contributor of global carbon dioxide and methane emissions from fossil fuel and cement industries over the last fifty years, during which time the company undeniably knew about its products’ harmful climate impacts. This bait-and-switch, along with ExxonMobil’s decades-long record of lying to consumers about the climate risks of its products, are reminiscent of the tobacco industry’s tactics.

“ExxonMobil’s unwillingness to change its business model has drawn the ire of climate-conscious investors. Just last week, the state of New York announced it would divest from fossil fuel companies that aren’t in alignment with the Paris Agreement and the Church of England said it would support a campaign to nominate four directors to ExxonMobil’s board. Any company that fails to keep pace with what science demands threatens its future while endangering the rest of us with escalating climate impacts and systemic risks to the global economy.”