Occidental Petroleum Net-Zero Strategy A ‘License To Pollute,’ Critics Say

"The company’s climate strategy could result in more emissions than it prevents."

"More so than any other fossil fuel company, Occidental Petroleum — known as Oxy — has built its climate strategy around innovations that capture carbon before it can be emitted or pull it directly out of the air. The Texas-based oil giant, which made more than $23 billion in revenue last year, says on its website that these “visionary technologies” will help it achieve net-zero greenhouse gas emissions and enable a lower-carbon future.

Scientists agree that such technologies will be necessary to limit global warming. But Oxy’s plans for them appear to be less about sustainability and more about creating a “license to pollute,” according to a new analysis from the nonprofit Carbon Market Watch. The analysis describes Oxy’s focus on carbon capture and removal as a “costly fig leaf for business as usual,” allowing the company to claim emissions reductions while continuing to profit from the sale of fossil fuels — rebranded as “net-zero oil” and “sustainable aviation fuels.”

The company “makes this whole spiel about meeting the Paris Agreement’s goals, but it’s very clearly flying in the face of that,” said Marlène Ramón Hernández, an expert on carbon removal at Carbon Market Watch and a co-author of the report. “What we have to do is phase out fossil fuels, not perpetuate their life.”"

Joseph Winters reports for Grist May 9, 2024.

Source: Grist, 05/14/2024