Global warming: largest oil companies must cut production to reduce carbon emissions
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Global warming: largest oil companies must cut production to reduce carbon emissions

The seven main private oil companies should cut production by more than a third by 2040 in order to keep carbon emissions in line with the objectives of the Paris agreement, according to an NGO studying the sector.

The agreement – signed by governments and not private companies – is committed to a global warming objective that is “clearly below two degrees” in comparison to the pre-industrial era and under 1.5 degrees if possible.

Given that CO2 emissions contribute to the warming of the climate according to a known pattern, it is possible to calculate a planet-wide “carbon budget” for various situations.

The way current global emissions are going, the “budget” for a 1.5-degree scenario will run out in 13 years and the one targeting a 1.75 degree increase in 24 years, the NGO Carbon Tracker (based in London) emphasised.

Its study on the major oil companies is based on a possible situation postulated by the International Energy Agency (IEA) involving warming within the limits of the Paris Agreement, compared to the available data on predicted emissions generated by the major projects of the seven biggest companies (ExxonMobil, Shell, Chevron, BP, Total, Eni and ConocoPhillips) in the oil and gas domains.

To remain within this situation’s “carbon budget”, they would have to reduce their total emissions by 40% and production by 35%, Carbon Tracker concluded.

“There is a limit to the carbon that can be emitted for a given level of climatic warming, which means that if we have to achieve a result, in terms of the Paris agreement or any other objective, the production of fossil fuels must be reduced,”Andrew Grant, analyst at Carbon Tracker states.

Several companies have undertaken to reduce the level of their emissions in terms of production, while leaving the door open to hikes in world production with the global demand for energy continuing to grow.

According to the study, it is the American giant ConocoPhillips that ought to make the most cuts and reduce its production and emissions by 85%. While Anglo-Dutch Shell would need to only cut 10% of its production (and 15% of its emissions).

“We will manage the greenhouse gas emissions in our operations and integrate activities linked to climate change into our objectives, ConocoPhillips told AFP.

A Shell spokesperson indicated that Shell has not made production projections but had “the goal to reduce its net carbon footprint and has introduced some short-term objectives to gauge progress.”

The Brussels Times