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Exxon discloses value-chain emissions


Under pressure from investors, Exxon has released an Energy and Carbon Summary that for the first time in the company’s history, makes public the amount of carbon dioxide emissions produced across its value chain—so-called Scope 3 emissions.

In the document, Exxon reported that its Scope 3 emissions in the upstream segment last year amounted to 570 million tons of carbon dioxide equivalent and emissions from refining operations came in at 630 million tons of carbon dioxide equivalent. Emissions from petroleum product sales were the greatest, at 730 million tons of carbon dioxide equivalent.

As per the Environmental Protection Agency, Scope 3 emissions result from activities related to assets that the reporting company does not own or operate. Also called value-chain emissions, they commonly account for most of the carbon dioxide equivalent a company emits.

Exxon has been reporting Scope 1 and Scope 2 emissions—those directly generated through its operations and those from the production of energy the company buys—but not Scope 3.

“Because Scope 1 and Scope 2 emissions are within the direct control of a company, the criteria for identifying and reporting them is well established, transparent and consistent across industries,” Exxon said in the document. “Reporting Scope 3 emissions, however, is less certain and less consistent because it includes the indirect emissions resulting from the consumption and use of a company’s products occurring outside of its control.”

Exxon has repeatedly come under fire for not doing enough to reduce emissions even though, like all of its peers, the supermajor has announced lofty emission goals. The latest update came last month, when Exxon said  it would seek to reduce the greenhouse gas emissions of its upstream business by 15 to 20 percent from 2016 levels by 2025. The company also eyes a 40-45 percent reduction in methane intensity across its upstream projects by that year.

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