Global Carbon Project: The Millennium is On Track for Very High CO2 Emissions, according to a new global analysis of fossil fuel trends
The world is still on track for dangerous levels of warming, according to a new report from the Global Carbon Project. This year, fossil fuel emissions are expected to reach a record high, more than 50% higher than they were when the Industrial Revolution began.
“We’re dangerously close to 1.5 Celsius thresholds,” says Rob Jackson, climate scientist at Stanford University who worked on the report, which was compiled by scientists around the globe.
China, the world’s biggest emitter, is expected to reduce emissions by about 1%. The economic activity in the area is suppressed by the ongoing Ps.D, but the most significant decrease comes from a building and development slump since cement is a potent source of greenhouse gases.
Fossil fuels are growing at a slower rate. In the 2000s it increased by 3% a year. Over the past decade, fossil fuels have grown by only .5% per year.
Russian Natural Gas Experiments: Progress Towards a Global Climate Zero, a Resolution to the House Oversight Committee’s “Disinformation Campaign”
Natural gas from Russia has become a problem for many countries as a result of the war in Ukraine. Exporting natural gas overseas requires super-cooling it down into liquified natural gas, so it can be loaded on ships. Once the ships are at their destination, they must unload the gas at a special facility. According to a new report from Climate Action Tracker, a climate think tank, 26 new terminals have been announced in the European Union since the invasion of Ukraine.
Increasing natural gas usage will increase fossil fuel use for a long time. According to the report, if the proposed terminals come online then they could more than double the emissions from liquified natural gas. That could jeopardize any commitments that governments make in the COP27 negotiations. To reach the world’s goal of limiting warming to 1.5 degrees Celsius, the International Energy Agency says there should be no investment in new fossil fuel supplies.
“It’s a chaotic mess of a global economy and we really don’t yet know how emissions will settle out post-Covid because we haven’t had a normal year yet,” he says.
Glen Peters, a researcher at the Center of International Climate Research in Norway who is part of the Global Carbon Project stated that there are paths forward with the cleaner energy system. Peters says that the climate policies being implemented by governments are working to some degree.
Big Oil companies have engaged in a “long-running greenwashing campaign” while raking in “record profits at the expense of American consumers,” the Democratic-led House Oversight Committee has found after a year-long investigation into climate disinformation from the fossil fuel industry.
The committee said documents uncovered show the fossil fuel industry has presented natural gas as a bridge fuel to transition to cleaner sources of energy, while also doubling down on its longstanding reliance on fossil fuels.
The committee found internal documents that showed the company’s recent plans do not align with its public comments and that it aspires to be a net zero company by 2050 or sooner.
In an email between several of the company’s high-level officials in July of last year, a VP of engineering for the company said that it had no obligation to reduce greenhouse gas emissions from one of its gas projects.
A strategy slide presented to the Chevron Board of Directors from CEO Mike Wirth and obtained by the committee states that while Chevron sees “traditional energy business competitors retreating” from oil and gas, “Chevron’s strategy” is to “continue to invest” in fossil fuels to take advantage of consolidation in the industry.
In a 2016 email from a BP executive to John Mingé, then-Chairman and President of BP America, and others, about climate and emissions, an employee assessed that the company often adopted an obstructionist strategy with regulators, noting, “we wait for the rules to come out, we don’t like what we see, and then try to resist and block.”
Democratic lawmakers had hoped the committee’s hearings would be the fossil fuel industry’s “Big Tobacco” moment — a nod to the famous 1994 hearings when tobacco CEOs insisted that cigarettes were not addictive, triggering accusations of perjury and federal investigations.
The impact of House Oversight’s investigation into Big Oil will not be as immediate, but Rep. Ro Khanna, a Democrat and the chair of Oversight’s environmental subcommittee, said the findings have added to the historical record for the industry and its role in global warming.
The oil and gas industry tried to obstruct the investigation of the Democratic lawmakers. Many of their requests for internal documents were heavily redacted by the companies, which did not specify reasons for withholding the information.
Guyana woken up by the first Exxon spill: Janki and Burch-Smith made a pledge to change the world’s climate
A climate pledge will only be a baseline in three years. People will demandmore from the businesses they work for, spend more money with them, and invest in them. They will be left behind if they can not demonstrate progress towards their net zero goals.
In late June, inside a squat concrete building in Georgetown, Guyana, on a noisy street flanked by telephone repair shops and beauty supply stores, two lawyers were waging one of the most significant legal battles in the global fight against climate change. Melinda Janki and Ronald Burch-Smith sat in a ground-floor office staring intently at a computer screen, ignoring the sounds of macaws, monkeys, tree frogs, and traffic packing the streets, waiting to connect to the country’s Supreme Court via Zoom. The fear of the internet conk out was real in the capital city, and it is unreliable at best.
The two lawyers were a bit of an odd couple. Burch-Smith is tall and meticulous. Ask him if he knows what time it is, and he is more likely to give a yes than a no. Janki is a petite woman with warm eyes and a sharp wit, quickly moved to rigorous denouncements of injustice, from the war in Ukraine to the plight of the planet to the litter on the street. Burch-Smith has a framed Phantom of the Opera playbill above his desk. The art in Janki’s office is a little more confrontational: a life-size painting of a fierce yellow jaguar that appears poised to step out of a blackened forest and straight through the picture frame. Two attorneys have mounted a bold and novel attack on Exxon Mobil, the world’s largest corporation with the legal muscle to match.
In 2015, Exxon, which is known in Guyana as Esso, struck oil off the coast, the first significant find in the country’s history. The scale of the discovery, 11 billion barrels so far, landed Guyana on the list of the world’s top “carbon bombs”— fossil fuel projects capable of releasing more than a gigaton of carbon dioxide. Exxon ultimately plans to produce more than 1 million barrels of oil a day. That would transform Guyana—currently a carbon sink thanks to its dense blanket of rain forests and minimal emissions—into one of the world’s top 20 oil producers by 2030. A reliable source of energy and reduced emissions are needed at the same time during the world’s transition to clean energy, says Exxon Mobil. Exxon Mobil has a role to play in both.” Exxon expects its operations in Georgetown to have 30 percent lower greenhouse gas intensity than its average oil or gas production. Climate experts estimate that 2030 is also the year by which much of Georgetown and coastal Guyana will be underwater as a result of unchecked global warming. The effects of the worsening of disasters in the country will be felt by those living in the interior. The Guyanese government gave Exxon the green light to operate in the country. The government had a codefendant in the case, Exxon.
Georgetown’s lush beauty—its neighborhoods teem with tropical flowers in scarlet reds, peacock blues, sun-kissed yellows, and turquoise greens—is made possible by its abundant sources of water: Rivers and canals carve paths through the streets, carrying water from the Amazon to the Atlantic, along whose coast most of the city—and 90 percent of the nation’s population—resides. The abundance of water is a sign that Georgetown is vulnerable to climate change. The evidence indicates an impoverished city that is rapidly industrializing. Newly traffic-clogged streets strain to make room for horse-drawn carts; cows graze on street corners near Popeye’s and KFC. Many homes and buildings have that beaten-down look common to places of either war or extreme weather.
As attention turns to delivery in 2023, awareness will grow that these traditional offsets are at best a distraction that doesn’t count towards net zero, and at worst are downright fraudulent. Carbon avoidance offsets have been a cheap way for businesses to show their commitment to tackle the climate crisis, and they could even use them to make a case for themselves. More than $1 billion of offsets were sold.
Businesses will need to look to other solutions in 2023 if they want to demonstrate delivery. Carbon removal technologies have grown in awareness. There is now a broader understanding and acceptance that these technologies, which actively suck carbon out of the atmosphere through direct air capture, enhanced weathering, and other methods, are critical to reaching our global climate goals. And progress has been made—in 2022, a host of major players in Silicon Valley, including Google, Meta and Shopify, formed an alliance to commit $925 million in carbon removal by 2030. While this is a promising step, access to and investment in carbon-removal technologies must become mainstream if they are to go from being in their infancy to scaling at the pace the planet needs them to.
The year has proven to be a landmark for climate action, according to a political scientist at UC Santa Barbara. “We really, I think, are at a tipping point when it comes to climate action.”
The new approach to climate action in the US is called the carrot. Whereas previous proposals wielded a stick, like levying a tax on carbon emissions, the Inflation Reduction Act (aka the IRA) rewards taxpayers for making greener choices. It allocates nearly $400 billion in rebates and tax breaks for people to buy electric vehicles and solar panels, or outfit their homes with heat pumps or better insulation. Energizer can save people money on their energy bills. “That’s really the promise here, to get people onto clean, efficient, and affordable electric machines.”
(If you’re not sure exactly what this entails in terms of home upgrades, updating insulation typically requires plugging leaks that let in outdoor air, then spraying either an expanding foam or pulverized newspaper into walls and attic surfaces. The heat pump works like an air conditioning unit in the summer but it reverses in the winter. The appliance can run on renewable energy like rooftop solar because it is powered by electricity. They are so efficient that they would be a better choice for a furnace than fossil fuels, even if you had to run them on fossil fuels.
Exploring the Oil and Gaseous Markets: Exxon’s Fourth-Year Earnings Almost Double what It Had in 2018
ExxonMobil’s earnings slowed from a peak earlier in the year but the oil giant still reached a full-year record profit more than double what it reported a year ago.
The solid fourth quarter lifted full-year earnings to $59.1 billion from $23 billion in 2021, and well above the previous record net income of $45.2 billion it reported for 2008, the year that saw the record high for oil and US gasoline prices before the records set last year.
When the oil and gas sector suffered losses and payouts were slashed in 2020, the results marked a dramatic change of fortune. The reversal of fortunes has been almost entirely due to oil and gas prices roaring back as economies reopened and then going into overdrive following Russia’s invasion of Ukraine last February.
Exxon’s blockbuster earnings, announced Monday, will likely lead to more political pressure from the White House. Last year the president chastised Exxon for making more money than God.
CEO Darren Woods defended the company’s investments in production, saying the company’s North American refineries had their greatest output ever, and that it had its highest global refinery production since 2012.
Woods said that the results clearly benefited from a favorable market. “But, to take full advantage of the undersupplied market our work began years ago, well before the pandemic when we chose to invest counter-cyclically. We leaned in when others didn’t. We continued with these investments into today.
Oil, Gas, and Oil-Energy Impact of Exxon: A David vs. Goliath Showdown
Of the $29.8 billion that the company returned to shareholders, about half of it came through dividends and the rest through share repurchases.
Spending on exploration and other capital spending is more than the amount spent on this. The company ended the year with $28.6 billion in cash on its balance sheet, which is a 331% increase. And it repaid $7 billion in debt.
The full-year results come to an average of $1,874 of profit for every second during the course of the year. ExxonMobil earned $225,000 on average, since it takes them more than two minutes to fill a tank of full-size SUV or pickup with gas.
The share price of Exxon was slightly lower in premarket trading after the report, perhaps due to investor disappointment that there wasn’t a new program to buy shares. But shares were slightly higher in morning trading after the open.
A group of investors called Engine No. 1 challenged Exxon’s management, accusing the company of not moving fast enough to adapt to a world that will reduce its use of oil.
In this David vs. Goliath showdown, David won the battle, with Engine No. 1’s nominees replacing three Exxon board members. But Goliath isn’t going anywhere.
Fresh scrutiny has been given to investments in renewable energy and the prices of oil companies’ customers as a result of the huge gains by oil companies. In Europe, windfall taxes were imposed to raise funds to help households with high energy bills.
Meanwhile, in the U.S., California is considering a similar windfall tax. If oil companies don’t invest their excess profits in more production, the president has threatened them with higher taxes and restrictions. But it’s unclear whether the administration can follow through on such a threat.
The shift from denying climate change and ignoring it when talking to investors has been going on for a very long time.
Climate advocates say that a rapid transition away from fossil fuels is necessary, but the responses to climate change only address reducing emissions from oil wells and pipelines, not investing in lower-carbon technologies.
After Russia invaded Ukrainian, oil and gas prices surged, which resulted in a new record of $199.3 billion in profits for companies including ExxonMobil, Shell, and Total.
TotalEnergies reported an annual profit of $36.2 billion on Wednesday, more than doubling their previous year’s earnings.
Shareholders have also gained from big increases in share prices over the past year, ranging from TotalEnergies’ 11% rise at the bottom end to Exxon’s 39% surge at the top.
Big Oil Profits: Shareholder Buybacks, Dividends, and Exxon Mobil’s Investments in Renewables and Energy Solutions
Despite the strong evidence that the world needs to move much faster with its efforts to address the Climate Crisis, the flood of cash has not delivered a noticeable boom in renewable energy investments.
But the additional tax charges — which ExxonMobil, for its part, is challenging in court — and investments in new sources of energy pale in comparison with the sum the world’s five biggest private sector oil and gas companies handed to shareholders: the bounty exceeded $100 billion for 2022.
“It’s been a spectacular year for shareholder distributions,” said Tom Ellacott, senior vice president for corporate research at Wood Mackenzie, an energy consultancy.
Ellacott expects dividends to remain high this year but said oil prices would probably have to increase from the current level to sustain the volume of share buybacks seen in 2022.
Several companies have announced plans to spend tens of billions of dollars buying back their own shares. The company, the Dow’s best-performing stock last year, announced last month that it would buy $75 billion worth of its own shares.
In comparison with rewards for shareholders, companies spent a fraction on renewable energy investments, even as they dialed up spending on oil and gas as demand recovered and European governments scrambled to replace Russian supplies.
According to Wood Mackenzie’s data, capital spending on oil and gas was over half a billion dollars in two years. That’s still below its pre-pandemic level, but it could go even higher this year, the consultancy said.
“If the bulk of your investments remain tied to fossil fuels, and you even plan to increase those investments, you cannot maintain to be Paris-aligned, because you will not achieve large-scale emissions reductions by 2030,” Mark van Baal, the founder of activist shareholder group Follow This, said in a statement.
Shell directed more than a fourth of its capital spend towards its Renewables and Energy Solutions business, which includes electricity generation, hydrogen production, carbon capture and storage, and the trading of carbon credits.
The company said the total amount spent on “low- or zero-carbon businesses,” including on operations, was much higher at about $21 billion, or a third of total expenditure.
Shell CEO Wael Sawan: The State of the Game in Renewable Physicists’ Debate on Renewable Energy Scales
Wael Sawan, CEO of Shell, told journalists that the world needed to move faster on renewable sources and that they were going to have to change government policy.