Climate Change Policy: EU and US Energy Companies Divided Over Environmental Issues

Written by | Friday, November 25th, 2016

European and American oil and gas companies have very different views on environmental issues. European firms generally outperform their American counterparts when it comes to investment in clean and sustainable energy and they also rarely try to disclose information to investors about the financial risks posed by global warming, according to report released by the British company CDP.

“The performance between Europeans and Americans is quite, with Europeans making steps in the right direction to hedge themselves against the changes, which are going to happen in the world,“ Tarek Soliman, senior analyst of investor research at CDP commented.  European firms have generally made more investment in cleaner-burning natural gas and renewables and found ways to decrease emissions that leak during the extraction process.

Just to give a few examples: Italy’s major Eni plans to invest more than $1 billion in solar projects in Italy, Algeria, Pakistan and Egypt and does not produce any oil from tar sands, Norway’s state-owned Statoil has increased its reserves of gas and decreased emissions from methane, a powerful pollutant, better than any of its competitors and France’s Total is about to convert one-fifth of its portfolio to low-carbon fuels by 2035.

In the meantime, the US Exxon Mobil has just started a legal action over its role in a climate change cover-up scandal and is ranked below all of its US and EU competitors in terms of emissions and corporate governance on climate risks. Chevron has in contrast underappreciated the investment in natural gas and underperformed on most CDP measures. Another US energy company, ConocoPhilips, had the second-highest exposure to tar sands after Canadian Suncor.

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