Positions and principles
In this article
As part of its participation in policy discussions, ExxonMobil engages through trade associations and industry collaboration efforts, including the Oil & Gas Climate Initiative. The Company uses various communications channels, including this report, press releases, exxonmobil.com and the Exxchange advocacy portal to clearly and transparently articulate ExxonMobil’s climate-related policy positions. These positions inform and provide the basis for the Company’s lobbying and advocacy efforts.
In addition to our website and publication materials, the case studies below provide an illustration of our views on several important public policy issues that are currently being debated.
ExxonMobil has supported the goals of the Paris Agreement on climate since its inception, and has consistently voiced support for U.S. participation in the agreement. We have also actively engaged with government officials to encourage remaining in the Paris Agreement.
With advances in technology and the support of clear and consistent government policies, ExxonMobil aims to achieve net-zero Scope 1 and 2 greenhouse gas emissions from its operated assets by 2050. This ambition is backed by a comprehensive approach centered on developing detailed emission-reduction roadmaps for major operated assets.
The Company’s roadmap approach identifies greenhouse gas emission-reduction opportunities and the investment and policy needs required to achieve net zero. The roadmaps are tailored to account for facility configuration and maintenance schedules, and they will be updated as technologies and policies evolve.
Net-zero roadmaps for major assets are ahead of schedule and expected to be complete by year-end 2022.
Accelerating emissions reductions
In 2021, the Company announced new medium-term Scope 1 and 2 greenhouse gas emission reduction plans for 2030 for operated assets, compared to 2016 levels. These plans include a 20-30% reduction in corporate-wide greenhouse gas intensity; a 40-50% reduction in greenhouse gas intensity of upstream operations; a 70-80% reduction in corporate-wide methane intensity; and a 60-70% reduction in corporate-wide flaring intensity. The actions to achieve the reductions in emissions intensity are also expected to reduce absolute corporate-wide greenhouse gas emissions by approximately 20%. These emission-reduction plans cover Scope 1 and Scope 2 emissions from assets the Company operates. For non-operated assets, the Company works with its equity partners to advance greenhouse gas reductions to achieve comparable results.
We also expect to achieve World Bank Zero Routine Flaring by 2030.
Investing ~$17 billion in lower-emission opportunities
Over the next five years, we plan to invest approximately $17 billion on initiatives to lower greenhouse gas emissions. A significant share is focused on scaling up CCS, hydrogen and low-emission fuels to support reductions in global emissions. We see these technologies as key to reducing emissions in the highest-emitting sectors, such as commercial transportation, power generation and heavy industry. We see growing markets for low-carbon products and services to help meet society’s goals for a lower-emission future. Governments will play an important role in facilitating the development of these markets, encouraging consumer behavior and enabling the private sector to invest in the most effective technologies to meet demand.
Advocating for supportive policies
Recognizing that supportive government policies are required and can act as an accelerator for lower-emission alternatives, ExxonMobil actively participates in climate-related policy discussions around the world, including the 27th Conference of the Parties to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change, COP27.
The Company focuses on practical policy solutions that recognize the increasing global demand for affordable and reliable energy while enabling scalable development and deployment of lower- and zero-greenhouse gas emission technologies.
Durable and predictable market-driven policies together with advancements in technology can further incentivize developments, and scale investments in lower-emission technologies to help achieve the Paris Agreement goals at the lowest cost to society.
A good example is a coordinated and transparent economy-wide price on carbon such as a carbon tax. An established carbon price would enable all technologies to compete and cost-effectively lower carbon intensity while delivering meaningful emission reductions. Broad adoption of an economy-wide price on carbon could also help spur the development of global carbon markets as envisioned in Article 6 of the Paris Agreement.
In the absence of economy-wide carbon pricing, well-designed sector-based policy options could also be an effective way to reduce emissions. ExxonMobil supports the approaches outlined below, which help address emissions in manufacturing, transportation and power generation.
ExxonMobil recognizes that the transportation sector is one of the most difficult to decarbonize, and current policy approaches are limited. We support a holistic federal transportation policy approach that is technology-neutral and contains a life-cycle fuel and vehicle CO₂ emission standard to drive emission reductions across the entire fleet, including new and pre-owned, light- and heavy-duty vehicles. This policy allows all types of fuels and corresponding vehicles to compete, leverages existing infrastructure, and preserves a wide array of choices for individual consumers.
ExxonMobil is working with a broad group of multi-sector stakeholders to advocate for this market-based federal policy that addresses life-cycle GHG emissions of the fuel, vehicle, and necessary infrastructure. We were a lead participant in developing the American Petroleum Institute’s policy framework that includes an action plan to reduce life-cycle emissions in the U.S. transportation sector. In time, this flexible policy architecture could be applied to other difficult to decarbonize transportation sectors, including aviation and marine.
For the manufacturing sector, ExxonMobil’s focus is on carbon capture and storage and hydrogen. The International Energy Agency and the U.N. Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change have identified both hydrogen and carbon capture and storage as vital to reducing emissions associated with manufacturing and heavy industry.
The carbon capture and storage opportunities that ExxonMobil is evaluating have the potential to move forward with current technologies. However, to drive investment and deploy the technology at the pace and scale needed to meet the Paris Agreement goals, governments must establish durable regulatory and legal frameworks as well as incentives, similar to those available for other more established low-emission technologies. With effective government policies in place, and advancements in technology, broad deployment of commercial-scale carbon capture and storage projects could create a new industry, resulting in job creation and economic growth. Low carbon policies should be clear, cost-effective, technology-neutral and aligned with free market principles.
ExxonMobil supports a policy and regulatory framework for carbon capture and storage that would:
- Sustain long-term government support for research and development.
- Provide standards to ensure safe, secure and permanent CO₂ storage.
- Allow for fit-for-purpose CO₂ injection well design standards.
- Provide legal certainty for pore space ownership.
- Ensure a streamlined permitting process for carbon capture and storage facilities.
- Provide access to CO₂ storage capacity owned or controlled by governments.
- Allow for trading of high-quality offsets generated from carbon capture and storage and low-carbon projects.
ExxonMobil is actively engaging stakeholders and potential partners on these policy enablers that can unlock Low Carbon Solutions business opportunities and contribute to a lower-emission future.
A technology-neutral clean energy standard, or carbon intensity standard, could reduce CO₂ emissions in the electricity sector by setting targets based on carbon intensity and incentivizing necessary infrastructure and lower-emission options, including natural gas, renewables, carbon capture and storage and negative-emission technologies such as bioenergy with CCS, and direct air capture.
ExxonMobil supports an open, unbiased and rules-based trade and investment system and sees those principles as essential to global free enterprise and to promoting productivity and economic growth. Furthermore, free trade and strong investment protections buttress energy security by encouraging access to diverse energy supplies and production sufficient to meet growing global demand.
ExxonMobil relies on free trade agreements and policies, including for example strong investment protection provisions in the U.S.-Mexico-Canada Trade Agreement (USMCA). Providing a level playing field to import and export goods and services ultimately gives consumers greater choice.
Sound trade policies and investment protections also enable effective supply chains and the efficient movement of capital, people, information and all products.
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