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The Guardian: Exxon's emissions: “If Esso were really concerned with reducing emissions, it would follow BP and Shell and support the Kyoto protocol.” (


Tuesday October 12, 2004


Your article "Exxon admits greenhouse gas emissions" (October 7) was more about omissions rather than emissions. ExxonMobil's position and record on greenhouse gas emissions were misrepresented.


You reported that ExxonMobil's emissions are increasing, but neglected to mention that emissions have increased on an industry-wide basis. This is because energy companies are increasing production to meet growing world energy demand. On an emissions-per-barrel-produced basis, ExxonMobil's record is basically flat.


With ExxonMobil being one of the world's largest refiners, it is not surprising that our gross emissions numbers are higher than those of other companies. On a per tonne of refined crude oil basis, our emissions are comparable to other major international refiners.


The article suggests that our emissions could be higher than we have published because our numbers may not contain emissions arising from the use of power at Esso petrol stations or from our tankers. But our figures do include these emissions.


One thing you did get right was to say that we are taking significant actions to reduce GHG emissions. For example, over the past four years our US refineries have saved enough energy to supply 900,000 European households with electricity each year. Our Global Energy Management System has identified opportunities for an additional 10% improvement in the efficiency of our refineries and we are taking a leading role in the World Bank greenhouse gas flaring reduction initiative.


Nick R Thomas

Manager, UK & Ireland public affairs, ExxonMobil


Esso should be doubly embarrassed by its attitude towards its own growing greenhouse gas emissions. First, the company is misguided if it thinks the level at which its emissions stand has much relevance. Its reputation as the No 1 global warming villain comes not because of its own carbon profligacy, but because of the huge pressure it has put on politicians to reject the Kyoto treaty.


Second, its current high-profile advertisements claim the company is reducing emissions, when it is not. The news that Esso has no targets for reducing emissions, and is, in fact, letting them grow, shows that it can't even greenwash its reputation effectively. If Esso were really concerned with reducing emissions, it would follow BP and Shell and support the Kyoto protocol.


Nick Davies


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