Session 7: Well Below 2°C Reporting by Major Fossil Energy Companies: The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly
Demand by the business and investment community for well below 2° Celsius scenario planning by fossil energy companies is growing. In 2017, the Task Force on Climate-Related Financial Disclosures (TCFD) recommended that companies across all sectors should disclose what a 2°C or lower scenario would mean for their businesses, strategies, and financial planning. In recent years, shareholder resolutions calling for major oil and gas companies to report on how they are planning for a world in which global temperature increase is kept well below 2°C have passed by substantial margins at companies including BP, ExxonMobil, Occidental Petroleum, and Royal Dutch Shell.
Now that major fossil energy companies are issuing these reports, how useful are they in assessing whether a company is living up to its stated support for the Paris Climate Agreement, or in comparing companies’ business plans for a low-carbon future? Can we have confidence in companies’ claims to support the Paris temperature targets if they don’t identify when and how emissions will get to net zero? What will it take to hold fossil energy companies accountable to the expectation that they include a serious, in-depth discussion of climate-related risks in their mainstream financial reporting—particularly as climate liability litigation gains momentum in several jurisdictions? Panelists will analyze and compare company below 2°C reports and energy outlooks released to date in terms of their consistency with climate science, their responsiveness to investor needs, and their limitations and underlying assumptions. Session participants will be invited to consider how pressure can be brought to bear on major fossil energy companies to make these reports scientifically robust and financially sound.