Exxon CEO dismisses rivals' climate targets as 'beauty competition'

Carl Surran, SA News Editor 
Mar. 5, 2020

Defending the business of fossil fuels and resisting targets on carbon emissions, Exxon Mobil (NYSE:XOM) CEO Darren Woods today called pledges by some of its Big Oil rivals to cut carbon dioxide emissions a "beauty competition" that would do little to halt climate change.

"Individual companies setting targets and then selling assets to another company so that their portfolio has a different carbon intensity has not solved the problem for the world," Woods said at Exxon's analyst day, with the company focused on "taking steps to solve the problem for society as a whole and not try and get into a beauty competition."

Woods' remarks mirror those made by Chevron (NYSE:CVX) CEO Mike Wirth earlier this week, who said the company would not "play a shell game with our portfolio" to meet climate goals.

European counterparts Royal Dutch Shell, Repsol and Eni have pledged to make big cuts in carbon emissions over the long term, and BP committed to eliminate nearly all emissions from its own operations as well as the fuel it sells to customers.

Exxon shares closed -4.4% today, approaching its lowest price in 15 years, leaving it with a market value of $212B vs. as much as $527B in 2007.