U.S.-Based Oil Companies Are Finally Joining a Global Initiative to Combat Climate Change

September 20, 2018, 2:30 PM UTC

The oil industry’s record on carbon emissions has been historically poor.

But in 2014, a group of 10 oil companies sought to turn that assumption on its head, creating the Oil and Gas Climate Initiative (OGCI), an organization seeking to address climate change. Founding members drew from companies based in Europe, Asia, the Middle East, and Latin America—but the U.S. was missing.

Now, some of the biggest oil companies in the U.S.—Chevron, ExxonMobil, and Occidental Petroleum—are finally joining the consortium’s ranks. These companies will join the others in pursuing a two-fold purpose: first, to work toward reducing emissions and establishing cleaner operations; and second, to contribute to a $1 billion investment fund that seeks to develop technologies that assist in emissions reduction. Each new member company will commit $100 million to the fund.

With the addition of these three U.S.-based companies, OGCI members represent approximately 30% of global and gas production, and supply close to 20% of global primary energy consumption, according to OGCI.

The U.S.’s biggest oil companies’ decision to join the consortium, which includes “recognition and support of the Paris Agreement,” is significant as it signals a divergence from the Trump administration’s climate policy. These companies now join dozens of others that are choosing to set ambitious emissions targets, despite Trump’s decision to withdraw from the Paris Agreement.