A Burning Question: Are Oil and Gas Companies Really Evolving?

Title: A Burning Question: Are Oil & Gas Companies Really Evolving?
Date & Time: Tue, October 6, 2020 at 6:00 PM
Venue: Online

It’s an urgent question: Will oil & gas companies transform themselves to align with the Paris Agreement and help prevent the worst impacts of climate change? A few oil & gas majors have recently stated ambitions to achieve net-zero carbon emissions by 2050.

Yet many have not. And the oil & gas industry has also seized the opportunity created by the COVID-19 crisis to lobby for regulatory rollbacks and bailouts.

From the ads we’re seeing on TV and Facebook, you’d think ExxonMobil, Chevron and other oil & gas companies were focused on low-carbon innovation. But what these companies spend on low-carbon businesses is a drop in the oil barrel compared to their continued investments in exploration and infrastructure.

It’s no wonder they are being accused of greenwashing—in fact, ExxonMobil’s ads are the subject of an ongoing consumer fraud complaint by the Massachusetts Attorney General.

Climate conscious shareholders are also demanding that oil & gas companies back up their climate pledges with ambitious near-term action and that they ensure their trade associations  don’t fight the very climate policies they claim to support.

Meanwhile, the costs of climate change are already high and rapidly rising. More than a dozen US communities are suing to hold oil & gas companies accountable for their fair share of the costs of climate damages and preparedness. How does climate liability affect the outlook for these companies?

On October 6th, we’ll hear from leading researchers and advocates to get the latest on fossil energy companies’ actions to transition to new GHG-reducing business models, their past and ongoing climate disinformation and how they could more fully transition to keep us within targets set by the Paris Agreement.

Oct 2020

Our lead speaker, Dr. Peter C. Frumhoff, is Director of Science & Policy and Chief Climate Scientist at the Union of Concerned Scientists. Peter serves on the Atmospheric Sciences & Climate Board of the National Academies of Science, Engineering & Medicine and was a lead author of the Fourth Assessment Report of the IPCC which was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize in 2007. His research and writing on the climate responsibilities of fossil fuel companies includes the UCS “Climate Accountability Scorecard”, which is available here. [Full bio here.]

Also from UCS, Kathy Mulvey will provide the shareholder and investment perspective. Kathy is the Accountability Campaign Director and Advocate for the Climate & Energy team leading strategic development of climate corporate accountability campaigns, guiding engagement with corporate targets, building national and international coalitions and mobilizing experts and supporters. Kathy also serves as Chair of the Socially Responsible Investing Committee of the Unitarian Universalist Association. [Full bio here.]

Joining our speakers from UCS, Damali Vidot has been a leader in an effort to make ExxonMobil address its leaking oil tank farm which regularly releases dangerous toxic chemicals and threatens to devastate the City of Chelsea with hazardous pollutants if a Category 1 hurricane hits. A lifelong resident of Chelsea, Damali gained valuable experience as a youth worker and small business owner before her election to the City Council in 2015. She was the first woman to be named President of the Council for two consecutive terms. Damali and her fellow community activists have put a spotlight on the oil & gas industry’s disregard for the health and well-being of neighboring communities and have joined in the pathbreaking lawsuit to force action. [Full bio here.]

Photo credit: Okq8 se / CC BY-SA via Wiki Commons