The largest energy companies in the world are expected to sell out more than 100 billion dollars of oil fields and other polluting assets as they try to achieve their corporate climate goals. But these companies often sell to buyers who reveal little about their operations, have made little or no promises to combat climate change, and are committed to increasing fossil fuel production. writes Hiroko Tabuchi of the Times.
For example, when oil giant Shell sold its stake in Nigeria’s Umuechem oil field last year, it seemed like a step forward for the company’s climate ambitions, at least on paper. But as soon as Shell left, the oil field underwent such a significant change that it was detected from space: there was a wave of glow, the wasteful burning of excess gas in massive columns of smoke and fire. Flaring emits greenhouse gases into the atmosphere that warm the planet, as well as soot. (In response to questions, Shell told the Times that he was looking forward to seeing the full report.)
new one Research published on Tuesday shows that, out of 3,000 oil and gas deals concluded between 2017 and 2021, double the number of activities involved switching from operators with zero net commitments to those who did not, compared to the other way around. This means that roughly 60 percent of oil well deals are likely not going to result in a reduction in emissions. Indeed, oil and gas plants could continue to pollute, perhaps even at a faster rate, but out of the public eye.
“You can transfer your assets to another company and shift emissions from your books, but that doesn’t amount to any positive impact on the planet if this happens without any protection in place,” said Andrew Baxter, head of energy transition. team from the Environmental Defense Fund, which performed the analysis.
Transactions like these are likely to prevent the cleanup of fossil fuel infrastructure and efforts to slow climate change, experts said. The World Meteorological Organization and the UK Met Office recently found a strong likelihood that one of the next five years will be the hottest on record globally, surpassing the current record year of 2016.