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Kearl Oil Sands project

Engaging on climate change policy and planning

Society continues to face the dual challenge of expanding energy supplies to support economic growth and improve living standards, while simultaneously addressing the societal and environmental risks posed by rising greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions and climate change. Our climate change risk management strategy includes four components: engaging on climate change policy and planning; mitigating GHG emissions in our operations; developing future technology; and developing products that reduce GHG emissions for customers.

Managing the risks of climate change requires the participation of governments, private companies, consumers and other stakeholders. We engage stakeholders directly and through trade associations around the world to encourage sound policy solutions for addressing these risks.

  • Susan Blevins
    Susan Blevins

    U.S. greenhouse gas and climate change issue manager

    "I find working in the area of climate change fascinating. It is a global challenge, requiring solutions that balance geopolitical and economic considerations of diverse nations and communities around the world, with an understanding of the complex field of climate science. ExxonMobil brings significant capabilities to this discussion and the intellectual curiosity to pursue an understanding of the science behind the changes to our climate. In my role, I get to see the nexus of these issues, analyze the impact of the organization and shape our efforts."

Attributes of sound climate policy

ExxonMobil believes the long-term objective of a climate change policy should be to reduce the risk of serious impacts to humanity and ecosystems at minimum societal cost, while recognizing the importance of abundant, reliable and affordable energy to enable improved living standards worldwide. Both developed and developing countries need to work together in crafting policies aimed at mitigating global CO2 emissions, while recognizing the potential for differing priorities.

If policymakers choose to take action to address the risks of climate change, we believe effective policies will be those that:

  • Promote global participation; 
  • Let market prices drive the selection of solutions;
  • Ensure a uniform and predictable cost of GHG emissions across the economy;
  • Minimize complexity and administrative costs;
  • Maximize transparency; and
  • Provide flexibility for future adjustments to react to developments in climate science and the economic impacts of climate policies.

We believe a properly designed, revenue-neutral carbon tax is a more effective policy option for imposing a cost on carbon than cap-and-trade schemes, regulations, mandates or standards. Properly designed, a revenue-neutral carbon tax:

  • Is a more efficient means of reflecting the cost of carbon in all economic decisions, and thus is more transparent and predictable;
  • More easily lends itself to global application;
  • Avoids the complexity of building additional carbon security markets;
  • Can be implemented through the existing tax infrastructure; and
  • Is better-suited for setting a uniform standard to hold all nations accountable.

Engaging stakeholders

ExxonMobil engages a variety of stakeholders – including policymakers, investors, consumers, academia, NGOs and the public – on climate change issues of direct relevance to the company. We align our internal positions and external communications via a corporate-wide global climate change and GHG issue management team with national and regional sub-teams. This team applies corporate level policy principles and positions to external issues that arise at local, state, national and regional levels to ensure consistency across the globe. ExxonMobil employees also hold key leadership positions, including board of director positions, with many trade associations that engage on climate change issues, including the API, IOGP and IPIECA, the global oil and gas industry association for environmental and social issues.

Additionally, we contribute to a wide range of academic and policy organizations that research and promote dialogue on domestic and foreign policy issues. We annually review our support of tax-exempt organizations and make appropriate adjustments. We publish a list of the 501(c)(3) organizations we support and update the list annually.  

Our scientists have been involved in climate change research and related policy analysis for more than 30 years, yielding more than 50 papers in peer-reviewed publications. Experts from our organization have participated in the United Nations Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) since its inception. Most recently, our scientists contributed to the IPCC Fifth Assessment Report in lead author, review editor and reviewer roles. Our scientists also participate in the work of the National Academy of Sciences, including its work to review the third U.S. National Climate Assessment Report and provide advice to the U.S. Global Change Research Program.