Saving The Books, Cooking The Planet

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

Examining mergers and acquisitions between 2017 and 2021, EDF found 155 deals totaling $ 84.6 billion, resulting in assets moving away from companies with net-zero commitments, and 211 trades worth 115.6 billion billion from companies with stated goals of reducing methane emissions. In total, agreements involving “reduced environmental commitments” increased from 10% in 2018 to 15% in 2021. For example, the weekly burning at the Umuechem oil field in Nigeria went from a maximum of 2 million cubic feet of flaming climate warming methane per week in 2020, to an almost overnight jump 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 move the emissions from your own books, but it does not equate to any positive impact on the planet if it happens without any security measures in place,” Andrew Baxter, director of energy conversion at EDF told New York Times.

Sources: New York Times $, Reuters, Financial Times


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