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Exxon, under investor pressure, discloses emissions from burning its fuels

Signage is displayed at an Exxon Mobil Corp. gas station in Arlington, Virginia, U.S., on Wednesday, April 29, 2020. Exxon is scheduled to released earnings figures on May 1. Photographer: Andrew Harrer/Bloomberg
By Reuters
06 Jan 2021 0

Jan 6 (Reuters) - Exxon Mobil Corp, under increasing pressure from investors and climate change activists, reported for the first time the emissions that result when customers use its products such as gasoline and jet fuel.

The largest U.S. oil producer said the emissions from its product sales in 2019 were equivalent to 730 million metric tons of carbon dioxide, higher than rival oil majors. The data comes as the company has drawn the ire of an activist investor focused on its climate performance.

The so-called Scope 3 data is included in its latest Energy & Carbon Summary released Tuesday, though Exxon downplayed its significance. “Scope 3 emissions do not provide meaningful insight into the Company’s emission-reduction performance,” the report said. (Report: https://exxonmobil.co/3hL6Tmo)

“Even to get to the point of having them disclose this has been like pulling teeth,” said Andrew Grant at think tank Carbon Tracker Initiative. “Quite a lot of the rest of the world has moved on from the disclosure to ‘What are we going to do about this?'”

Most major oil companies already report Scope 3 emissions and some have reduction targets, including Occidental Petroleum, which in November set a goal to offset the impact of the use of its oil and gas by 2050.

Exxon said it made the disclosure due to investor interest.

“They’re seeking dollars against companies that are disclosing Scope 3,” said Danielle Fugere, president of As You Sow, a non-profit shareholder activist group. “I don’t think they have any choice.”

By 2025, Exxon targets reducing the intensity of its oilfield greenhouse gas emissions. It has not set an overall emissions target, though, so emissions could rise if production grows.

Last month, activist firm Engine No. 1 called for expanded spending and pay cuts, a board shake-up and shift to cleaner fuels. Its views are supported by California State Teachers’ Retirement System, the Church of England, and echoed in part by hedge fund D.E. Shaw, which has $50 billion under management.

(Reporting by Jennifer Hiller in Houston; editing by Lisa Shumaker)

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