Chief Executives of major international oil companies Saturday warned that carbon emissions from energy industry is rising at fastest rate since 2011.
The chief executives or chairs of BP, ExxonMobil, Shell, Total, ConocoPhilips, Chevron and several major investors including BlackRock and Hermes,made the declaration at the end of a two-day meeting in the Vatican that was addressed by the pope and led by senior Vatican churchmen.
In two statements, the Chief Executives called for a “combination of policies and carbon pricing mechanisms … designed in a way that simultaneously delivers innovation and investment in low-carbon solutions while assisting those least able to pay”.
They also called on governments to put in place carbon pricing to encourage low-carbon innovation, and called for greater financial transparency to aid investors.
However, they made no pledges to reduce their greenhouse gas emissions, and set no timetable for action.
The oil companies’ pledges did not go far enough, said Mel Evans, climate campaigner for Greenpeace UK.
“The oil majors knew all about the risk from climate change many years before most of us first heard about it. They knew where we were heading, they knew their products were the cause, and yet they kept it quiet and lobbied for business as usual,” said Evans.
“And they’re still lobbying for business as usual. When it comes to saving the planet they will do what they are forced to do, and no more, which is why we’re having to block them from drilling new oil wells as we speak. Expecting leadership from them is a path to certain disaster.”
Emissions are rising at their fastest level in close to a decade, leaving an ever shorter period to prevent dangerous levels of global heating. Every year of high emissions takes the world closer to the brink, because it adds to the stock of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere, which can take a century to dissipate. Last month, the concentration of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere showed the second highest annual increase since continuous records began more than 60 years ago.