Save the books, cook the planet


Oil and gas companies are increasingly using mergers and acquisitions to offload emissions from their own balance sheets to meet corporate climate targets without actually reducing emissions, according to a report by the Environmental Defense Fund released Tuesday.

Examining mergers and acquisitions between 2017 and 2021, EDF found 155 transactions totaling $84.6 billion that caused assets to be withdrawn from companies with net zero promises and 211 transactions valued at 115 $.6 billion from companies with stated targets to reduce methane emissions. Overall, transactions with “reduced environmental commitments” increased from 10% in 2018 to 15% in 2021. For example, weekly flaring at Nigeria’s Umuechem oil field went from a maximum of 2 million cubic feet of global warming methane flaring per week in 2020 on a jump from almost overnight to 10 million after it was sold to a private equity firm, a 700 percent increase.

“You can move your assets to another company and you can shift emissions off your own books, but it won’t have a positive impact on the planet if it’s done without safeguards,” Andrew Baxter, director of energy transition at EDF, told the New York Times.

Sources: New York Times $, Reuters, Financial Times


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