The Climate Accountability Scorecard (2018)

An in-depth analysis of eight major fossil fuel companies finds they continue to spread climate disinformation and have failed to adequately plan their businesses for a low-carbon world.

Fossil fuel companies are facing increasing shareholder, legal and political pressure to stop spreading climate disinformation and to fix their business plans to achieve dramatic reductions in global warming emissions. While some companies are responding to this pressure, overall their efforts remain insufficient to prevent the worst impacts of climate change.

Company Profiles and Scorecard Results

Results for ArchCoal and CONSOL Energy can be found in the report and appendices.

In 2016, when we first analyzed the actions of 8 major oil, gas, and coal companies, we found that none had made a clean break with disinformation on climate science and policy or planned adequately for a world free from carbon pollution.

In 2018, although some companies have publicly supported the Paris climate agreement to limit harmful warming, none of these companies has set company-wide emissions reduction targets consistent with this goal. Many continue to downplay or misrepresent climate science and the dangers of carbon emissions, and all continue to support trade groups that spread climate disinformation and work to stymie needed climate policies.

We evaluated eight companies on 28 metrics, organized in four broad areas:

  • Disinformation: Have these companies stopped spreading disinformation about climate science and policies?
  • Business Planning:  Do these companies’ business plans align with a world free from carbon pollution? 
  • Policies:  Do these companies support fair and effective climate policies?
  • Disclosure:  Are these companies fully disclosing the financial and physical risks of climate change to their business operations?   

Findings

While every company improved its score on at least one metric and saw a score decline on one or more other metrics, there was no across-the-board improvement on any specific metric, and no single company improved in every area.

Explore each company’s score per metric in the table below. Colors indicate scores. Arrows indicate changes in each company’s performance compared to the 2016 Climate Accountability Scorecard. 

Methodology > 

Company Disinformation Business
Planning
Policy Disclosure
BP Poor Fair Fair Fair
Chevron Egregious Poor Fair Fair
Conoco­Phillips Egregious Fair Good Good
ExxonMobil Egregious Poor Good Fair
Royal Dutch Shell Poor Fair Good Fair
Arch Coal Poor Egregious Poor Fair
CONSOL Energy Poor Egregious Egregious Fair
Peabody Poor Egregious Fair Poor
BP: Disinformation (back to BP)
Metric Score
Accuracy and consistency of public statements on climate science and the consequent need for swift and deep reductions in emissions from the burning of fossil fuels Good
Affiliations with trade associations and other industry groups that spread climate science disinformation and/or block climate action Egregious
Policy, governance systems, and oversight mechanisms to prevent disinformation Poor
Support for climate-related shareholder resolutions Fair
Area Score Poor
BP: Business Planning (back to BP)
Metric Score
Company-wide commitments and targets to reduce greenhouse gas emissions Poor
Use of an internal price on carbon in investment decisions Fair
Commitment and mechanism to measure and reduce carbon intensity of supply chain Fair
Disclosure of investments in low-carbon technology research and development Fair
Disclosure of greenhouse gas emissions reduction plans Poor
Disclosure of how company manages greenhouse gas emissions and associated risks Fair
Disclosure of greenhouse gas emissions Good
Area Score Fair
BP: Policy (back to BP)
Metric Score
CPA-Zicklin Index of Corporate Political Disclosure and Accountability: Disclosure Poor
CPA-Zicklin Index of Corporate Political Disclosure and Accountability: Policy Advanced
CPA-Zicklin Index of Corporate Political Disclosure and Accountability: Oversight Good
Engagement with Congress on federal climate policies or legislation Fair
Consistent support for US policy action to reduce emissions Fair
Support for the Paris Climate Agreement Poor
Company influence through international or national business alliances or initiatives that are supportive of specific climate policies Good
Area Score Fair
BP: Disclosure (back to BP)
Metric Score
Disclosure of regulatory risks Good
Disclosure of physical risks Poor
Disclosure of market and other indirect risks and opportunities Poor
Disclosure of corporate governance on climate-related risks by board and senior management Poor
Area Score Fair
BP: Trade Associations (back to BP)
AssociationScore
American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC) Good
American Petroleum Institute (API) Egregious
National Association of Manufacturers (NAM) Egregious
US Chamber of Commerce (US Chamber) Egregious
Western States Petroleum Association (WSPA) Egregious
Affiliations Score Egregious
Chevron: Disinformation (back to Chevron)
Metric Score
Accuracy and consistency of public statements on climate science and the consequent need for swift and deep reductions in emissions from the burning of fossil fuels Egregious
Affiliations with trade associations and other industry groups that spread climate science disinformation and/or block climate action Egregious
Policy, governance systems, and oversight mechanisms to prevent disinformation Poor
Support for climate-related shareholder resolutions Egregious
Area Score Egregious
Chevron: Business Planning (back to Chevron)
Metric Score
Company-wide commitments and targets to reduce greenhouse gas emissions Egregious
Use of an internal price on carbon in investment decisions Poor
Commitment and mechanism to measure and reduce carbon intensity of supply chain Poor
Disclosure of investments in low-carbon technology research and development Poor
Disclosure of greenhouse gas emissions reduction plans Poor
Disclosure of how company manages greenhouse gas emissions and associated risks Poor
Disclosure of greenhouse gas emissions Good
Area Score Poor
Chevron: Policy (back to Chevron)
Metric Score
CPA-Zicklin Index of Corporate Political Disclosure and Accountability: Disclosure Good
CPA-Zicklin Index of Corporate Political Disclosure and Accountability: Policy Advanced
CPA-Zicklin Index of Corporate Political Disclosure and Accountability: Oversight Good
Engagement with Congress on federal climate policies or legislation Fair
Consistent support for US policy action to reduce emissions Poor
Support for the Paris Climate Agreement Poor
Company influence through international or national business alliances or initiatives that are supportive of specific climate policies Fair
Area Score Fair
Chevron: Disclosure (back to Chevron)
Metric Score
Disclosure of regulatory risks Good
Disclosure of physical risks Poor
Disclosure of market and other indirect risks and opportunities Poor
Disclosure of corporate governance on climate-related risks by board and senior management Poor
Area Score Fair
Chevron: Trade Associations (back to Chevron)
AssociationScore
American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC) Egregious
American Petroleum Institute (API) Egregious
National Association of Manufacturers (NAM) Poor
US Chamber of Commerce (US Chamber) Poor
Western States Petroleum Association (WSPA) Egregious
Affiliations Score Egregious
ConocoPhillips: Disinformation (back to ConocoPhillips)
Metric Score
Accuracy and consistency of public statements on climate science and the consequent need for swift and deep reductions in emissions from the burning of fossil fuels Egregious
Affiliations with trade associations and other industry groups that spread climate science disinformation and/or block climate action Poor
Policy, governance systems, and oversight mechanisms to prevent disinformation Poor
Support for climate-related shareholder resolutions Poor
Area Score Egregious
ConocoPhillips: Business Planning (back to ConocoPhillips)
Metric Score
Company-wide commitments and targets to reduce greenhouse gas emissions Poor
Use of an internal price on carbon in investment decisions Fair
Commitment and mechanism to measure and reduce carbon intensity of supply chain Fair
Disclosure of investments in low-carbon technology research and development Poor
Disclosure of greenhouse gas emissions reduction plans Poor
Disclosure of how company manages greenhouse gas emissions and associated risks Fair
Disclosure of greenhouse gas emissions Good
Area Score Fair
ConocoPhillips: Policy (back to ConocoPhillips)
Metric Score
CPA-Zicklin Index of Corporate Political Disclosure and Accountability: Disclosure Good
CPA-Zicklin Index of Corporate Political Disclosure and Accountability: Policy Advanced
CPA-Zicklin Index of Corporate Political Disclosure and Accountability: Oversight Advanced
Engagement with Congress on federal climate policies or legislation Fair
Consistent support for US policy action to reduce emissions Poor
Support for the Paris Climate Agreement Poor
Company influence through international or national business alliances or initiatives that are supportive of specific climate policies Fair
Area Score Good
ConocoPhillips: Disclosure (back to ConocoPhillips)
Metric Score
Disclosure of regulatory risks Good
Disclosure of physical risks Good
Disclosure of market and other indirect risks and opportunities Fair
Disclosure of corporate governance on climate-related risks by board and senior management Good
Area Score Good
ConocoPhillips: Trade Associations (back to ConocoPhillips)
AssociationScore
American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC) Good
American Petroleum Institute (API) Egregious
National Association of Manufacturers (NAM) Egregious
US Chamber of Commerce (US Chamber) Egregious
Western States Petroleum Association (WSPA) Poor
Affiliations Score Poor
ExxonMobil: Disinformation (back to ExxonMobil)
Metric Score
Accuracy and consistency of public statements on climate science and the consequent need for swift and deep reductions in emissions from the burning of fossil fuels Egregious
Affiliations with trade associations and other industry groups that spread climate science disinformation and/or block climate action Poor
Policy, governance systems, and oversight mechanisms to prevent disinformation Poor
Support for climate-related shareholder resolutions Egregious
Area Score Egregious
ExxonMobil: Business Planning (back to ExxonMobil)
Metric Score
Company-wide commitments and targets to reduce greenhouse gas emissions Poor
Use of an internal price on carbon in investment decisions Poor
Commitment and mechanism to measure and reduce carbon intensity of supply chain Fair
Disclosure of investments in low-carbon technology research and development Poor
Disclosure of greenhouse gas emissions reduction plans Poor
Disclosure of how company manages greenhouse gas emissions and associated risks Fair
Disclosure of greenhouse gas emissions Fair
Area Score Poor
ExxonMobil: Policy (back to ExxonMobil)
Metric Score
CPA-Zicklin Index of Corporate Political Disclosure and Accountability: Disclosure Poor
CPA-Zicklin Index of Corporate Political Disclosure and Accountability: Policy Advanced
CPA-Zicklin Index of Corporate Political Disclosure and Accountability: Oversight Advanced
Engagement with Congress on federal climate policies or legislation Fair
Consistent support for US policy action to reduce emissions Fair
Support for the Paris Climate Agreement Poor
Company influence through international or national business alliances or initiatives that are supportive of specific climate policies Good
Area Score Good
ExxonMobil: Disclosure (back to ExxonMobil)
Metric Score
Disclosure of regulatory risks Poor
Disclosure of physical risks Fair
Disclosure of market and other indirect risks and opportunities Poor
Disclosure of corporate governance on climate-related risks by board and senior management Fair
Area Score Fair
ExxonMobil: Trade Associations (back to ExxonMobil)
AssociationScore
American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC) Good
American Petroleum Institute (API) Egregious
National Association of Manufacturers (NAM) Egregious
US Chamber of Commerce (US Chamber) Poor
Western States Petroleum Association (WSPA) Egregious
Affiliations Score Poor
Royal Dutch Shell: Disinformation (back to Royal Dutch Shell)
Metric Score
Accuracy and consistency of public statements on climate science and the consequent need for swift and deep reductions in emissions from the burning of fossil fuels Advanced
Affiliations with trade associations and other industry groups that spread climate science disinformation and/or block climate action Poor
Policy, governance systems, and oversight mechanisms to prevent disinformation Poor
Support for climate-related shareholder resolutions Poor
Area Score Poor
Royal Dutch Shell: Business Planning (back to Royal Dutch Shell)
Metric Score
Company-wide commitments and targets to reduce greenhouse gas emissions Poor
Use of an internal price on carbon in investment decisions Fair
Commitment and mechanism to measure and reduce carbon intensity of supply chain Fair
Disclosure of investments in low-carbon technology research and development Fair
Disclosure of greenhouse gas emissions reduction plans Poor
Disclosure of how company manages greenhouse gas emissions and associated risks Fair
Disclosure of greenhouse gas emissions Good
Area Score Fair
Royal Dutch Shell: Policy (back to Royal Dutch Shell)
Metric Score
CPA-Zicklin Index of Corporate Political Disclosure and Accountability: Disclosure Fair
CPA-Zicklin Index of Corporate Political Disclosure and Accountability: Policy Advanced
CPA-Zicklin Index of Corporate Political Disclosure and Accountability: Oversight Good
Engagement with Congress on federal climate policies or legislation Fair
Consistent support for US policy action to reduce emissions Fair
Support for the Paris Climate Agreement Fair
Company influence through international or national business alliances or initiatives that are supportive of specific climate policies Good
Area Score Good
Royal Dutch Shell: Disclosure (back to Royal Dutch Shell)
Metric Score
Disclosure of regulatory risks Poor
Disclosure of physical risks Poor
Disclosure of market and other indirect risks and opportunities Fair
Disclosure of corporate governance on climate-related risks by board and senior management Good
Area Score Fair
Royal Dutch Shell: Trade Associations (back to Royal Dutch Shell)
AssociationScore
American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC) Advanced
American Petroleum Institute (API) Egregious
National Association of Manufacturers (NAM) Egregious
US Chamber of Commerce (US Chamber) Egregious
Western States Petroleum Association (WSPA) Poor
Affiliations Score Poor
Arch Coal: Disinformation (back to Arch Coal)
Metric Score
Accuracy and consistency of public statements on climate science and the consequent need for swift and deep reductions in emissions from the burning of fossil fuels Egregious
Affiliations with trade associations and other industry groups that spread climate science disinformation and/or block climate action Poor
Policy, governance systems, and oversight mechanisms to prevent disinformation Poor
Support for climate-related shareholder resolutions Fair
Area Score Poor
Arch Coal: Business Planning (back to Arch Coal)
Metric Score
Company-wide commitments and targets to reduce greenhouse gas emissions Egregious
Use of an internal price on carbon in investment decisions Egregious
Commitment and mechanism to measure and reduce carbon intensity of supply chain Poor
Disclosure of investments in low-carbon technology research and development Poor
Disclosure of greenhouse gas emissions reduction plans Poor
Disclosure of how company manages greenhouse gas emissions and associated risks Poor
Disclosure of greenhouse gas emissions Egregious
Area Score Egregious
Arch Coal: Policy (back to Arch Coal)
Metric Score
CPA-Zicklin Index of Corporate Political Disclosure and Accountability: Disclosure Egregious
CPA-Zicklin Index of Corporate Political Disclosure and Accountability: Policy Fair
CPA-Zicklin Index of Corporate Political Disclosure and Accountability: Oversight Egregious
Engagement with Congress on federal climate policies or legislation Fair
Consistent support for US policy action to reduce emissions Poor
Support for the Paris Climate Agreement Egregious
Company influence through international or national business alliances or initiatives that are supportive of specific climate policies Fair
Area Score Poor
Arch Coal: Disclosure (back to Arch Coal)
Metric Score
Disclosure of regulatory risks Good
Disclosure of physical risks Poor
Disclosure of market and other indirect risks and opportunities Poor
Disclosure of corporate governance on climate-related risks by board and senior management Poor
Area Score Fair
Arch Coal: Trade Associations (back to Arch Coal)
AssociationScore
American Coalition for Clean Coal Electricity (ACCCE) Good
American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC) Fair
National Association of Manufacturers (NAM) Egregious
National Mining Association (NMA) Egregious
US Chamber of Commerce (US Chamber) Fair
Affiliations Score Poor
CONSOL Energy: Disinformation (back to CONSOL Energy)
Metric Score
Accuracy and consistency of public statements on climate science and the consequent need for swift and deep reductions in emissions from the burning of fossil fuels Poor
Affiliations with trade associations and other industry groups that spread climate science disinformation and/or block climate action Fair
Policy, governance systems, and oversight mechanisms to prevent disinformation Poor
Support for climate-related shareholder resolutions Poor
Area Score Poor
CONSOL Energy: Business Planning (back to CONSOL Energy)
Metric Score
Company-wide commitments and targets to reduce greenhouse gas emissions Egregious
Use of an internal price on carbon in investment decisions Egregious
Commitment and mechanism to measure and reduce carbon intensity of supply chain Poor
Disclosure of investments in low-carbon technology research and development Poor
Disclosure of greenhouse gas emissions reduction plans Poor
Disclosure of how company manages greenhouse gas emissions and associated risks Poor
Disclosure of greenhouse gas emissions Fair
Area Score Egregious
CONSOL Energy: Policy (back to CONSOL Energy)
Metric Score
CPA-Zicklin Index of Corporate Political Disclosure and Accountability: Disclosure Egregious
CPA-Zicklin Index of Corporate Political Disclosure and Accountability: Policy Egregious
CPA-Zicklin Index of Corporate Political Disclosure and Accountability: Oversight Egregious
Engagement with Congress on federal climate policies or legislation Fair
Consistent support for US policy action to reduce emissions Poor
Support for the Paris Climate Agreement Egregious
Company influence through international or national business alliances or initiatives that are supportive of specific climate policies Fair
Area Score Egregious
CONSOL Energy: Disclosure (back to CONSOL Energy)
Metric Score
Disclosure of regulatory risks Good
Disclosure of physical risks Poor
Disclosure of market and other indirect risks and opportunities Fair
Disclosure of corporate governance on climate-related risks by board and senior management Poor
Area Score Fair
CONSOL Energy: Trade Associations (back to CONSOL Energy)
AssociationScore
American Coalition for Clean Coal Electricity (ACCCE) Good
American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC) Fair
National Association of Manufacturers (NAM) Fair
National Mining Association (NMA) Egregious
US Chamber of Commerce (US Chamber) Fair
Affiliations Score Fair
Peabody: Disinformation (back to Peabody)
Metric Score
Accuracy and consistency of public statements on climate science and the consequent need for swift and deep reductions in emissions from the burning of fossil fuels Poor
Affiliations with trade associations and other industry groups that spread climate science disinformation and/or block climate action Egregious
Policy, governance systems, and oversight mechanisms to prevent disinformation Poor
Support for climate-related shareholder resolutions Fair
Area Score Poor
Peabody: Business Planning (back to Peabody)
Metric Score
Company-wide commitments and targets to reduce greenhouse gas emissions Egregious
Use of an internal price on carbon in investment decisions Egregious
Commitment and mechanism to measure and reduce carbon intensity of supply chain Egregious
Disclosure of investments in low-carbon technology research and development Poor
Disclosure of greenhouse gas emissions reduction plans Poor
Disclosure of how company manages greenhouse gas emissions and associated risks Fair
Disclosure of greenhouse gas emissions Poor
Area Score Egregious
Peabody: Policy (back to Peabody)
Metric Score
CPA-Zicklin Index of Corporate Political Disclosure and Accountability: Disclosure Advanced
CPA-Zicklin Index of Corporate Political Disclosure and Accountability: Policy Advanced
CPA-Zicklin Index of Corporate Political Disclosure and Accountability: Oversight Advanced
Engagement with Congress on federal climate policies or legislation Fair
Consistent support for US policy action to reduce emissions Egregious
Support for the Paris Climate Agreement Egregious
Company influence through international or national business alliances or initiatives that are supportive of specific climate policies Fair
Area Score Fair
Peabody: Disclosure (back to Peabody)
Metric Score
Disclosure of regulatory risks Fair
Disclosure of physical risks Poor
Disclosure of market and other indirect risks and opportunities Poor
Disclosure of corporate governance on climate-related risks by board and senior management Poor
Area Score Poor
Peabody: Trade Associations (back to Peabody)
AssociationScore
American Coalition for Clean Coal Electricity (ACCCE) Poor
American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC) Egregious
National Association of Manufacturers (NAM) Fair
National Mining Association (NMA) Egregious
US Chamber of Commerce (US Chamber) Egregious
Affiliations Score Egregious

Highlights

  • Following engagement with Barnard College over its divestment evaluation and with UCS over our 2018 scorecard findings, BP removes from the company’s website a statement that misrepresented climate science and backslid from its 2016 position.
  • Arch Coal, Chevron, ConocoPhillips and ExxonMobil include subtle “hedging” words on their websites and/or in SEC filings, falsely suggesting the (scientific) jury is still out on the connections between global warming gases and climate change and between the burning of fossil fuels and climate impacts such as sea level rise. 
  • Facing growing pressure from major shareholders, ExxonMobil and Chevron release climate risk disclosure reports. However, the reports lack commitments to reduce global warming emissions in line with the Paris climate agreement’s goal of keeping global temperature increase well below 2 degrees Celsius and striving to limit it to 1.5°C.
  • BP, Chevron, and ExxonMobil fail to mention climate liability litigation explicitly in their financial filings. More than a dozen U.S. communities have filed lawsuits to hold these fossil fuel companies, and others, accountable for climate damages and preparedness. Company shareholders need to be informed about this risk to their investments.
  • In July 2018, ExxonMobil becomes the latest oil and gas company to leave the corporate lobbying group American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC) after successfully pressuring the group to drop a resolution against the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s 2009 finding that global warming gases are endangering the planet. ALEC has notoriously fought climate policies and drafted sample legislation that sought to hamper the development and use of low-carbon energy. Chevron and Peabody Energy maintain leadership positions in the group.
  • Shareholder pressure leads ConocoPhillips in 2018 to expand its disclosures of lobbying and other public policy advocacy. 

Recommendations  

Major fossil fuel companies—including those studied in this 2018 scorecard—are substantial contributors to climate change, and therefore must take responsibility for their actions. Science now makes it possible to calculate that the eight companies in this study have contributed about 14 percent of global energy-related carbon dioxide and methane emissions driving disruptive climate change.

These eight leading fossil fuel companies have failed to fix their business models to reduce global warming emissions from their operations and the use of their products.  At the same time, many of them have deliberately sowed public confusion about climate science and the dangers of climate change, while lobbying against needed climate policies that would help us transition to a low-carbon energy system.

These fossil fuel companies should: 

  • Renounce disinformation on climate science and policy
  • Plan for a world free from carbon pollution, developing business models that are consistent with keeping global warming well below 2°C above pre-industrial levels, as agreed by world leaders
  • Support sensible climate policies to reduce emissions of heat-trapping gases
  • Fully disclose climate-related risks to their business
  • Pay their fair share of the costs of climate-related damages and climate change adaptation 

As a first step toward meeting emerging societal expectations, each company in this study should:

  • If it is not yet doing so, consistently acknowledge the scientific evidence of human-caused climate change and affirm the consequent need for swift and deep reductions in emissions from the burning of fossil fuels
  • Set company-wide, net-zero emissions targets consistent with the Paris climate agreement’s global temperature goal
  • Disavow positions and actions taken by affiliated third parties—including trade associations and lobby groups—that are inconsistent with companies’ stated positions on climate science and policy
  • Publicly and consistently advocate for specific policies and/or regulations to implement the Paris climate agreement
  • Fully disclose climate-related risks they face and how they are managing them—including physical risks to their operations and financial risks related to climate liability lawsuits

UCS and our experts, partners, and supporters are watching. We will continue to keep a close eye on major fossil fuel companies to assess their actions and words, recognize progress where it occurs, and turn up the heat on companies lagging behind.

Appendices: 

Appendix A: Methodology > 

Appendix B: Renouncing Disinformation on Climate Science and Policy > 

Appendix C: Planning for a World Free of Carbon Pollution > 

Appendix D: Supporting Fair and Effective Climate Policies > 

Appendix E: Fully Disclosing Climate Risks > 

 

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