Exxon Mobil acknowledged global warming for the first time ever in a new report released by the company. Still, the company reports that it will not stop selling fossil fuels in the near future, despite the damage to the environment.
The admission was made in a report to shareholders. This marks the first time a petroleum company has acknowledged man-made global warming.
"Exxon Mobil takes the risk of climate change seriously and continues to take meaningful steps to help address the risk and to ensure our facilities, operations and investments are managed with this risk in mind," company officials wrote [pdf] in the report.
In the diatribe, prepared for stockholders, company officials made it clear they do not predict any significant loss in profits in coming years due to regulatory laws. The study stated countries would not enforce many laws, due to increasing demand for energy from consumers. This would be driven by increasing numbers of humans and a rise in the standard of living around the world.
Increased population levels and a higher standard of living will help reduce the amount of greenhouse gases released to the atmosphere, the report concluded. There were few details provided how that would happen.
The International Energy Agency (IEA) reached a similar conclusion in its 2014 World Energy Outlook report. That group is made up of 28 member nations, and was formed in the wake of the Arab oil embargo in 1973. The IEA released large stockpiles of fuel to nations, in order to meet demand.
Renewable energy sources will continue to grow over the next few decades, said release. But, the world will still need oil and petroleum, the company assured investors. Exxon officials estimated carbon dioxide emissions from fossil fuels will peak around the year 2030 and then begin declining.
Investor groups were concerned that laws designed to help combat climate change could force the company to abandon fossil fuels. Arjuna Capital, Ceres and As You Sow are among the shareholder groups that have been asking Exxon Mobil to address the concern.
"That the largest American oil and gas company is the first to come to the table on this issue says a lot about the direction that energy markets are taking," Danielle Fugere, president of As You Sow, said [pdf] in a joint press release with the other activist investor groups.
Natasha Lamb, director of equity research at Arjuna Capital, said she is disappointed the company did not predict what would happen if the world did adopt and enforce low-carbon standards.