Conoco CEO favors staying in Paris climate pact
President Donald Trump and his administration are looking to US energy companies for their input on the Paris climate pact, according to Reuters.
During his campaign for president, Trump questioned the validity of climate change and vowed to exit the UN accord, saying it would be too costly for the United States economy.
According to Reuters the sources, who asked not to be named as they are not authorized to speak on the subject, said a number of oil companies have contacted the administration and argued that the United States should remain in the deal, but they do support reducing commitments originally made by the US.
The companies were not named, but the sources did say the companies were “publicly traded fossil fuel companies”.
The White House is expected to make its decision concerning the Paris climate accord soon. The source added the White House has led discussions with fossil fuel companies and the State Department, which represents the US in climate negotiations, has not been involved.
Reuters says the White House has declined to comment. Exxon Mobil, ConocoPhillips, Chevron, Peabody Energy and others did not immediately comment when asked if they had been approached by the White House concerning the Paris accord.
But in the past, several major energy companies, including Exxon and ConocoPhillips have expressed public support for the pact.
Darren Woods, Exxon Mobil’s Chief Executive recently said the pledges that came from the Paris climate accord were an “effective framework” for dealing with emissions. He also pointed to his company’s work to curb its own carbon emissions.
On the Exxon website, Woods said “I believe, and my company believes, that climate risks warrant action and it’s going to take all of us – business, governments and consumers – to make meaningful progress.”
Former Exxon CEO and current Secretary of State, Rex Tillerson supported the US remaining part of the climate change discussion during his confirmation hearing. He noted he did not see climate change as a security threat, but the United States would be best served by remaining a party to the climate change negotiations.
Conoco CEO Ryan Lance echoed Tillerson’s comments during CERAWeek in Houston last week. According to Conoco, the push for lower-carbon energy sources will mean more opportunities for its natural gas operations and its carbon-capture and storage investments.
J. Robinson, former chairman of Magellan Petroleum Corp., says Trump’s anti-Paris accord stand more reflects his dealings with CEOs from smaller oil companies that only deal in the US, not the major oil companies.
Speaking with Reuters, Robinson said “There are two classes of companies – the independents, which are much more influential with this administration, and the global oil companies. The independents are anti-climate change … all this stuff costs them money. The global companies operate all over the world. They have to operate at one standard – the highest standard – wherever they operate.”
In 2016, Exxon Mobil spent $4.9 billion in environmental spending, about 2.24 per cent of total revenue. ConocoPhillips logged $627 million, or 2.57 per cent of revenue.
The Paris climate accord, agreed to by nearly 200 countries calls for limiting planetary warming by slashing carbon dioxide and other emissions from the burning of fossil fuels.
The United States has committed to reducing its emissions by between 26 and 28 per cent below 2005 levels by 2025.