Opinion

Former Oil Industry Executive Urges Industry to Clean Up its Climate Plans


Bill Hafker, a former ExxonMobil executive recently discussed the oil and gas industry to US media and how it can address the issues of climate change.

The oil and gas industry currently account for approximately fifty percent of global carbon emissions. Industry experts have indicated that in order to address the challenge of climate change, the major oil and gas businesses need to become part of the wider solution.

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In an interview with CNBC, Bill Hafker explains that many of the leading oil and gas companies have the technical, financial and business expertise to effectively tackle the issues of climate change. Hafker suggests that the industry leaders will also need the support of investors and governments to create an effective climate plan.

Last year, shareholders at ExxonMobil introduced a new requirement for the business to identify its overall plans in managing climate change and more recently further pressure is being applied to develop a clear and efficient management plan.This process is being echoed across other oil majors, including Shell and Chevron, both of which are being pressed to develop a satisfactory plan for investors.

Existing climate reports for ExxonMobil and Chevron suggest that the government will not be successful in achieving the commitments laid out in the Paris Agreement, which affects the financial ability to sell their fossil fuel assets.
Oil major Shell has implemented a plan to maintain temperature rises to no more than two degrees celsius and also imposing a bold carbon reduction target. Industry experts, however, suggest that the plans lack what action points are necessary to achieve these targets.

Investors are pushing to see that oil and gas businesses are making a clear strategy to be part of the solution to climate change, and at the same time remain a profitable business. In order for this to be successful, oil and gas businesses need to create clear plans that actively support government strategies to make the transition towards a low carbon economy.
In the interview, Hafker suggests that oil and gas businesses need to focus more attention on the Paris climate targets and implement carbon emission reductions with supporting plans on how this can be achieved. These plans need to be supported by the Government, through the creation of effective incentives, rewarding businesses that do take action.

Hafker explains that many oil businesses identify themselves as integrated energy businesses which essentially could include a range of energy sources including solar, wind and nuclear. More recently, some of the leading oil businesses are investing and developing alternative energy sources in a drive towards low carbon energy sources. Through collaborative efforts with government, investors and other industries, oil and gas businesses have the opportunity to create a more resilient and sustainable future for the energy industry.

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