Exxon Mobil Corp on Tuesday pledged to cut to zero its net carbon emissions from its global operations by 2050, catching up with rivals who are minimizing their carbon footprints.
Exxon's 2050 plan, first mulled last year, covers emissions from its oil, gas, and chemical production and from the power those operations consume, so-called scope 1 and 2 targets. It made no commitment for emissions from consumers using those products.
"We are developing comprehensive roadmaps to reduce greenhouse gas emissions from our operated assets around the world," Exxon Chief Executive Officer Darren Woods said in a statement.
The company is "working with our partners to achieve similar emission-reduction results" in properties where Exxon is not in charge of operations, he said.
The oil major's shareholders last year tossed out three Exxon directors and replaced them with candidates proposed by a hedge fund pressing the company to boost returns and better prepare itself for a low-carbon world.
U.S. oil producers have lagged many European rivals in embracing Paris climate agreement goals of reducing the emissions that contribute to global warming. BP Plc and Royal Dutch Shell Plc have also pledged to cut emissions from fuels and products sold to consumers, so-called scope 3 targets.
Exxon's new pledge puts its a step ahead of U.S. rival Chevron Corp, which last October pledged to bring emissions from its upstream operations to zero by 2050 and lower the intensity of emissions elsewhere.
In November, Exxon said it would increase spending on projects dedicated to lower-carbon emissions to $15 billion through 2027. That includes development of technologies that are currently not commercial, like carbon capture and storage, hydrogen power and biofuels from algae.
In December, it pledged to achieve net-zero greenhouse gas emissions in its operations in the U.S. Permian Basin by 2030.
European oil producers have been leading the energy transition with plans to slowly reduce oil production and substitute it with renewable wind and solar power. Exxon and Chevron plan to increase oil production during this decade, supported by estimates that global oil demand will rise.
(Reporting by Sabrina Valle Editing by Paul Simao)