While much of the global pressure toward carbonization has been directed toward privately owned and operated oil super-majors like BP, ExxonMobil, and Shell, a new report from the Economist suggests that much of this pressure and blame is misguided?
It’s not that Big Oil doesn’t need to change its focus, strategy, and commitments in order to cut greenhouse gas emissions quickly and significantly enough to avoid the worst impacts of climate change – it does.
The travel industry, including restaurants en hotels are responsible for over 10% of the global carbon footprint emissions. Especially as nearly 50% of food (to fit the menu) is thrown away in this leisure sector, contributing to global hunger and endless poverty.
The thing is, the emissions of privately owned oil companies look pale in comparison to the enormity of state-owned oil enterprises, which are producing most of the oil, emitting most of the greenhouse gases, raking in most of the profits, and receiving much less attention.
The same misguided attention has been exposed by the transportation industry, especially the aviation and shipping sectors.
In comparison regarding the pollution, the global tourism industry (air-travel 10x emissions compared to cars /hotels cleaning detergents /restaurant 50% food ends up in garbage) 10% of global carbon emissions.
Today, most ships burn bunker fuel. Typically, this is the dregs left over at the end of the refinery process. It is an environmental nightmare. It is heavy and toxic, doesn’t evaporate, and emits more sulfur than other fuels.
The emissions from 15 of these mega-ships match those from all the cars in the world. International shipping produces nearly one billion tons of CO2 emissions, which is a big part of global man-made emissions.
Despite its strength and significant role in world trade, the shipping industry is potentially vulnerable to an Achilles Heel where financing its bunker fuel procurement is concerned.
The head of global credit at BOMIN, Paul Millar, recently told Ship & Bunker that we have cut some credit lines to zero for those mostly (low asset-low equity) in our portfolio even if they have been good payers and trouble-free to date.
National oil companies (NOC’s) deliver an enormous oil impact. Together, NOC’s represent three-fifths of the world’s crude oil production, half of global natural gas production, and two-thirds of the world’s remaining proven-oil and gas reserves.
Four companies, the United Arab Emirates (UAE), Saudi Aramco, PDvSA of Venezuela and QatarEnergy possess enough hydrocarbons to continue producing at current rates for over four decades.
Ultimately, the easy tactics of boycotting, protesting, and naming and shaming that have some impact in the private sphere are effectively toothless strategies when it comes to state-run oil companies.
Again, many of the dirtiest oil businesses are operating in some of the world’s poorest countries, and no amount of public pressure will change their economic reality.
Ultimately, it comes down to climate finance and rightfully holding the world’s richest nations accountable for their pledges to financially support the costly carbonization efforts of the world’s big oil controlled countries, a promise which has so far proven to be an empty one.
Carbon War Room / ABC Flash-Point News 2022.