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Last week, the price of oil nudged above $70 per barrel for three days. In years past, that kind of price increase would have economists break out in hives, and US consumers steer clear of stores. Almost miraculously, however, that hasn’t happened.
Exxon on Thursday announced that they would join the growing number of international oil and gas companies to take steps to research and combat the long-term effects of climate change. The move comes just one day after Shell announced a similar initiative to regulate its methane emissions over the next few years.
Yet, for all these undeniably positive strides, oil and gas companies are still decried as the bad guy, even as they take steps to find common ground with anti-energy activists.
Exxon’s ‘Political’ Move
Four years after they were eviscerated in the media for wanting to determine their own path forward, Exxon’s decision to reverse course and join the industry-supported Oil and Gas Climate Initiative is being similarly attacked. This time, critics are accusing Exxon of making the move to earn goodwill among the people.
Few people (willingly) remember that Exxon’s refusal to join the OCGI four years ago wasn’t a refusal to address climate change, it was an attempt to independently assess the most effective strategies for combatting global warming. In other words, Exxon’s decision to join Chevron, BP, Shell, and several others seems less like a politically-motivated about-face and more like the natural result of four years of research and thought.
Shell Doubles Down on Planet Earth
As Exxon takes steps to bolster the OCGI, another member company, Royal Dutch Shell, announced their plan to drastically reduce its methane emissions over the next 7 years. The oil and gas company is shooting to maintain methane emissions below .02 percent of their total assets by the year 2025.
The announcement is the first step in Shell’s mission to cut their carbon emissions in half in the coming decades.
Are We Incapable of Celebrating Positive Change?
When it comes right down to it, there may be nothing oil and gas companies can do to convince people that they’re not working to destroy the planet. That’s too bad. Regardless of the impression you might be given by the media, the oil and gas industry is swiftly becoming the most passionate ally in the quest to curtail climate change.
Exxon’s $100 million annual commitment to the OCGI, for example, brings the fund’s total up to a staggering $1.3 billion. That’s a monetary total that makes a far more convincing statement than those critics complaining about the politics behind the transition.