Frequently asked questions

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Frequently asked questions

Why is ExxonMobil focusing on intensity in addition to absolute emissions?

We believe GHG intensity is the best way to measure progress toward the goals of the Paris Agreement, because it is the truest reflection of how manufacturing companies like ExxonMobil are reducing the GHGs associated with each unit they produce.

Intensity metrics are well recognized by industry standards and are viewed as effective to reflect GHG improvements independent of organic growth (or decline) and allows comparability among companies within a sector or industry. (See the GHG Protocol issued jointly by the World Resources Institute and World Business Council, for instance). 

GHG intensity is also measured and reported on by many of our industry peers as a way to show progress toward addressing risks related to climate change.

Is ExxonMobil making a Net Zero pledge?

We respect and support society’s ambition to achieve net zero emissions by 2050. Rather than setting aspirational 2050 pledges, we will continue to take defined actions to reduce our emissions in achievable time periods, while developing and deploying technology solutions that will be necessary to achieve this ambitious and challenging goal. 

ExxonMobil believes our plan to reduce our flaring, methane emissions, and GHG intensity through 2025 are meaningful measures consistent with the goals of the Paris Agreement, and compares favorably to the actions taken by our competitors.

Addressing climate change will take a broad and coordinated effort of government, companies and consumers. We respect the efforts of all the companies in our industry who are taking on this ambitious and important challenge. We all bring different strengths and perspectives that will play a significant role in reducing emissions and putting us on the path to a lower-carbon future.

What is ExxonMobil's approach to renewables like wind and solar?

Renewable energies like wind and solar will play an important role in the transition to lower-carbon energy sources. ExxonMobil uses renewable energy to help power its operations. In 2018, we entered a power purchase agreement for 500MW of wind and solar projects in Texas, making us among the top 10 global corporate wind and solar purchasers. Overall we are the second largest buyer of wind and solar power in the oil and gas industry.

However, the expansion of wind and solar will not be sufficient to achieve the goals of the Paris Agreement; breakthrough technologies will be needed, and they will need to be both scalable and affordable. A recent study by the International Energy Agency showed that of the 46 clean energy technologies seen as crucial to minimizing the impacts of climate change, only six are on track to help meet Paris goals.

Rather than investing in wind and solar – well-established industry with well-established players – ExxonMobil believes its unique strengths are best applied by seeking to develop breakthrough technologies. We focus our R&D on three sectors where there are currently limited viable solutions for large-scale emissions reduction: commercial transportation, power generation and industrial processes. These sectors represent about 80 percent of current energy-related CO2 emissions.

Since 2000, ExxonMobil has invested over $10 billion on technology and programs to reduce emissions, including the development of carbon capture and storage, where ExxonMobil has more than 20 percent of the world’s total capacity. Our scientists and technologists are partnering with America’s leading national labs, as well as more than 80 research universities to develop scalable, affordable low-emission technology.

What is methane?

Methane is a hydrocarbon and is the primary component of natural gas. Methane is also a greenhouse gas and that comes from a range of sources, both natural and human induced. In the context of oil and gas, methane emissions refer generally to methane that escapes either through leaks or venting in association with the production, transport, or processing of hydrocarbons.

What is flaring?

Flaring is used in various stages of exploration and production operations throughout the world, primarily as a safety measure to prevent the accumulation of gases that could pose a potential safety hazard. Flaring safely burns gases such as propane and methane. Flaring methane reduces its greenhouse gas impact by converting it to carbon dioxide and water.