Why Did ExxonMobil Lobby To Stay In The Paris Agreement?


ExxonMobil lobbied President Trump to stay in the Paris Agreement. Can you figure out why that company would wish to do so?

Here are some pickings from the most recent ExxonMobil global energy forecast:

·         Total energy demand by 2040 will be 25% higher than in 2015.

·         Global energy supply in 2040 will be 55% from oil and natural gas. Wind, solar and biofuels will supply only 4% in 2040.

·         Coal use will decline but will still be the third largest supplier of global energy.

·         Global electrical energy demand for transportation will only be 2% of the total global energy demand in 2040.

·         Wind and solar electricity supplies will approach 15% of total electrical energy supply by 2040

·         Although utilization improves over time, intermittency limits worldwide wind and solar capacity utilization to 30% and 20% respectively.

·         By 2040 US and Europe combined CO2 emissions will be about 8 billion tonnes.  The total global emissions in 2040 will be about 36 billion tonnes,

·         Electric cars are a very high-cost option, at about $700/tonne of CO2 avoided.

The above just scratches the surface of the data in the ExxonMobil report.

The forecast does not reflect the Paris Agreement’s expectations to keep global temperature rise at no more than 2ºC total for the modern era.  The Paris Agreement envisions a 50% cut in fossil fuels by 2030.  Wind and solar are supposed to be replacing these fossil fuels.

 Rather they see fossil fuels as still the major source of energy. They think that wind and solar will still be too small to be important. They see a CO2 emissions still rising in 2040. And whatever the US and Europe might do to reduce CO2 emission, if even by magic they eliminate fossil fuel use entirely, it will not be a major factor. 

They see almost no future for electric cars to play a big role in reducing emissions.  They see natural gas as a big supplier of transportation fuel.

Back to the original question.  Why does ExxonMobil want the US to stay in the Paris Agreement?  ExxonMobil and the Paris Agreement are hopelessly at odds about the future of fossil fuels and renewable energy.  They are quoted as saying that they can influence the direction of the Paris Agreement if the US stays in the Agreement.  I really have trouble seeing the environmentalists suddenly asking ExxonMobil for guidance.

My guess is that because ExxonMobil does business in a lot of countries they want to be able to reduce any kick back at them because they are looked at as outsiders—even looked at as enemies.  They also do business in many countries and are probably subject to those countries laws.  Their actions in conforming to those regulations/laws/ etc. might result in some negatives from the US government or people. 

Being in the Agreement may make ExxonMobil believe it would protect them from the wrath of the radical left here in the USA. I doubt it.  Those people have no room for compromise.

It is hard for me to figure out ExxonMobil’s thinking. Add the fact that ConocoPhillips also had lobbied for the US to stay in Paris Agreement also is a mind boggler.

Do you know why they lobbied to stay in the Paris Agreement?

cbdakota

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One response to “Why Did ExxonMobil Lobby To Stay In The Paris Agreement?

  1. Your guess is probably the principal reason, Big Oil needs all the positive PR it can get.

    There is second reason. Recently, some dual-fired power plants have switched over to coal from gas because it is presently cheaper/BTU. With the Agreement, this would not last for long. Would there be an administration that supported the Agreement, coal use would become more expensive, one way or the other.

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