As clock ticks on climate action, corporation plans major fossil fuel expansion
BOSTON, MA – In the week leading up to Chevron’s annual report back to shareholders on May 31, a new exposé reveals that the corporation’s ‘net zero’ plans are riddled with junk offsets and appear to greenwash an agenda that likely intensifies global harm.
Key findings in the research report “‘Destruction is at the heart of everything what we do’: Chevron’s junk climate action agenda and how it intensifies global harm” published by the non-profit Corporate Accountability show that 93 percent of the voluntary carbon market offsets Chevron has purchased to ‘cancel out’ its emissions over the past three years seem to be junk – and a large proportion (42 percent) are linked to claims of harm to communities and ecosystems, particularly in the Global South. It appears that about half of Chevron’s carbon offsets purchased through the voluntary carbon market for this period are associated with large hydroelectric dam projects that don’t lead to new emissions reductions. And the corporation’s ‘net zero’ pledge overlooks 90 percent of the emissions associated with its business.
“Chevron’s ‘net zero’ rhetoric looks to be little more than a PR ploy to prevent strong climate action while the corporation rakes in record profits and plans for further production or expansion in at least 20 countries,” says Rachel Rose Jackson, director of climate research and policy at Corporate Accountability. “This research supports what we have long suspected to be true beneath its ‘green image.’ Chevron is deploying junk offsets that are presumed worthless, and many of which are likely to be spurring harm on frontline communities. In addition, its vast lobbying is a hindrance to the strong climate action we urgently need.”
The latest IPCC report warns that we are likely to cross irreversible thresholds unless we make immediate and drastic shifts to reduce emissions and curb fossil fuel use. Yet, Chevron is projecting emissions for 2022-2025 equivalent to that of 10 European countries in a similar time frame. Worse yet, it is planning to invest US$57.4 billion in oil expansion alone by the end of the decade.
Last year, Chevron lobbied on more than 150 federal bills or issues in the U.S. – targeting policies that sought to lower emissions while pushing others that would further legitimize risky and unproven schemes like carbon capture, utilization and storage (CCUS). In 2020-2022, Chevron directly spent US$20.8 million lobbying in the U.S. alone. This does not even take into account the more than US$310.5 million its partner trade groups spent in the same time period.
The fossil fuel industry is responsible for the bulk of global greenhouse gas emissions and Chevron is the investor-owned corporation responsible for the largest share. Meanwhile, the frontline communities most impacted by its business are the least responsible for the climate crisis. That’s why communities in different countries held the 10th annual #AntiChevronDay of action this month (May 21) to oppose the corporation’s historical and continuing harm to people and the planet.
“This report sheds light on what the Union of Affected Communities by Texaco/Chevron (UDAPT) have been living first-hand for almost three decades: the disastrous impact of Chevron. We’ve said it time and again, Chevron deceives and destroys, ruining lives, nature, and eroding the possibility of living in a world free of fossil fuel emissions,” says Justino Piaguaje, Plaintiff against Chevron and leader of the Siekopai Indigenous Nation UDAPT, based in Ecuador. “This report underscores that Chevron hasn’t just betrayed the people directly impacted by Chevron-Texaco, but is also misleading the whole world. This is why even a decade after Anti-Chevron Day began, we continue to stand against Chevron, to defend the planet and our right to protect our livelihoods.”
“It is truly hard to fathom that after all the harm endured by the communities around the globe and the ecosystems we all rely on, Chevron now aims to lead as an expert on supposed ‘solutions’ to reducing carbon emissions. We believe that their flaring and continued wrongdoing and absent accountability, has contributed to the surge of Richmond’s asthma rates from twice that of the state of California to three times that of the state,” says Katt Ramos, Managing Director of Unless stopped, their false solutions will continue impacting the health of Richmond’s communities. The real solution is a refinery phase out stewarded and led by our community and workers, while making sure Chevron pays for the decades long toxification of our community.”
The report offers a clear path forward: governments, shareholders, and parties to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) must commit to an equitable phase out of fossil fuels. Doing so will require urgently implementing the Real Zero benchmarks laid out in the exposé, committing to binding emissions reduction targets, avoiding reliance on risky schemes such as carbon offsets, and providing resources for local and frontline communities to respond to the climate crisis.
This year, in the lead up to Chevron’s annual report back to shareholders, activists and frontline communities across the globe will gather to take action against its wrongdoing and obstruction of meaningful climate action. Chevron’s lack of accountability and ‘net zero’ greenwash, if left unchecked, will lead us further down a path toward harms to people and the planet and irreversible climate change. Fossil fuel corporations like Chevron cannot be allowed to continue fueling destruction. Destruction might be at the heart of what corporations like Chevron do, but urgency, equity, and action must be at the heart of the global response to climate change. It’s time for shareholders, the public, policymakers, and governments to end the ability of the fossil fuel industry to rob us of a world where people and the planet can thrive.