Save the books, cook the planet

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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and acquisitions between 2017 and 2021, EDF found 155 transactions totaling $84.6 billion that caused assets to be withdrawn from companies with net zero promises and 211 transactions valued at 115 $.6 billion from companies with stated targets to reduce methane emissions.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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Republished by Nexus Media.


 


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