ExxonMobil Is World's Most Obstructive Company on Climate Policy—Report

Oil giant ExxonMobil has been ranked as the most obstructive company in the world when it comes to progressing on climate policy, a new report has revealed.

A report released on Thursday by the InfluenceMap think tank found that the U.S. oil company topped the list, which features 50 of the most influential companies and industry associations blocking climate policy action globally. InfluenceMap compiled the list out of 350 of the largest industrial companies that influence climate change.

The climate policy footprint runs from -100 (highly and negatively influencing climate policy) to +100 (highly and positively influencing climate policy) and intends to allow investors and other stakeholders to focus efforts on the few companies having the largest absolute impact globally.

ExxonMobil scored a climate policy footprint of -66, the lowest number. The report said that the company has a "dense network" of industry associations opposing climate policy in the U.S. and globally.

Chevron came second with -65 in carbon policy footprint, followed by Japanese automotive company Toyota Motor, which scored -53.

Utilities companies Southern Company and Sempra Energy ranked fifth and sixth in terms of most obstructive companies towards progressive climate policies.

U.S. oil companies dominated the list, despite waning economic dominance. ConocoPhillips, Philips 66, Valero Energy and Occidental Petroleum all joined Chevron and ExxonMobil in the top 25. Of the top 25 biggest climate obstructors, 10 are based in the U.S.

American associations led the top 10 list of associations most likely to stymie progressive climate policy.

American Petroleum Institute came first, with a carbon policy footprint of -95. American Fuel & Petrochemical Manufacturers came second with a footprint of -88, followed by the U.S. Chamber of Commerce with a footprint of -83.

The U.S-based National Mining Association came fourth (-73), followed by BusinessEurope (-73), the Canadian Association of Petroleum Producers (-69) and German Automotive Association (-66).

Commenting on the report, Edward Collins, director at InfluenceMap, said: "A Paris Agreement-aligned transition to a clean energy future is going to remain extremely challenging until countries take meaningful action to address the obstructive lobbying of vested interests from fossil fuel value chain sectors,"

"The corporate playbook for holding back climate policy has come a long way from science denialism, but it is every bit as damaging. The world is starting to wake up to the impact companies are having through their policy influence. In many cases, this policy influence massively overshadows the direct climate impacts of their operations and products," Collins added.

"It is high time that the major corporations engaging in such practices, along with the industry associations that support them, are held accountable for this."

A spokesperson for ExxonMobil told Newsweek: "ExxonMobil is committed to being part of the solution to climate change and the risks it poses. ExxonMobil is actively engaged in efforts to reduce emissions while providing affordable energy to the communities that need it.

"We have long acknowledged the reality and risks of climate change, and have devoted significant resources to addressing those risks.

"It will take concerted efforts from businesses, governments, and consumers to reduce the risk of climate change, and ExxonMobil is committed to playing its part."

The spokesperson said ExxonMobil has supported the Paris Agreement since its adoption, and "has consistently voiced support for U.S. participation in the agreement".

The spokesperson added: "ExxonMobil also has supported a carbon tax for years to incentivize the search for market-based lower-emissions energy solutions while also providing the stability and predictability that businesses need to make long-term and capital-intensive investments. Adopting a carbon price would send a clear signal to the market, creating powerful incentives to reduce emissions for businesses and individuals alike, and would encourage investment in R&D for breakthrough emission-reduction technologies, such as carbon capture."

On Tuesday, the House Oversight Committee's chairwoman subpoenaed the top executives of ExxonMobil, Chevron and other oil enterprises amid accusations that they concealed evidence related to climate change that was required as part of an investigation.

The UN Climate Summit COP26 is taking place in Glasgow, Scotland, this week and ends on November 14. On Wednesday, nearly 500 global financial services agree to align $130 trillion–40 percent of the world's financial assets–with the climate goals set out in the Paris Agreement, including limiting global warming to 1.5 degrees Celsius.

The group, called the United Nations Glasgow Financial Alliance for Net Zero, is made up of 450 banks, insurers and asset managers in 45 countries, and will undergo a review every five years to make sure they meet their targets. The group added that the companies will report the emissions they finance every year.

ExxonMobil Rottendam plant
A general view of ExxonMobil or Exxon Mobil refinery in the Port of Rotterdam, Netherlands. ExxonMobil has been ranked as the most obstructive company in the world when it comes to progressing on climate policy, a new report has revealed. Dean Mouhtaropoulos/Getty