An investigation into Chevron’s climate pledge has found that the fossil-fuel company relies on “junk” carbon offsets and “unviable” technologies, which do little to offset its greenhouse gas emissions and may be causing communities harm in some cases.
Chevron, which is reported to have earned $35.5bn in profits last year, is the US’s second-largest fossil fuel company with operations stretching from Canada and Brazil to the UK, Nigeria and Australia.
However, despite major expansions in five continents, Chevron has said that it still “aspires” to achieve net zero upstream emissions by 2050. To do this, it is mostly relying on carbon offset schemes – environmental projects meant to cancel out its greenhouse gas emissions – and carbon capture and storage (CCS) technologies.
Undertaken by Corporate Accountability, a non-profit, transnational corporate watchdog, the investigation found that 93% of the offsets Chevron bought and counted towards its climate targets from voluntary carbon markets between 2020 and 2022 were too environmentally problematic to be classified as anything other than worthless or junk.
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A carbon offset is characterized as having low environmental integrity, or being worthless, if it is linked to a forest or plantation or green energy project, including those involving hydroelectric dams, that doesn’t lead to additional greenhouse gas reductions, exaggerates benefits or risks emitting emissions, among other measures.
The investigation found that many of Chevron’s offset purchases focus on forests, plantations or large dams. It also found that almost half of Chevron’s “worthless” offsets are also linked to alleged social and environmental harms – mostly in communities in the global south, which are also often the most affected by the climate crisis.
“Chevron’s junk climate action agenda is destructive and reckless, especially in light of climate science underscoring the only viable way forward is an equitable and urgent fossil fuel phase-out,” said Rachel Rose Jackson from Corporate Accountability.
The report which was titled “destruction Is at the Heart of Everything We Do”. comes amid a week of global protests by communities affected by Chevron’s oil and gas businesses, as the California-headquartered company prepares for its annual shareholders meeting on 31 May.
Story was adapted from the Guardian.