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Experts are concerned about the repercussions of one climate villain's business venture: 'Old, dirty ways of doing business'

It's clear more responsibility is needed among industry giants.

It’s clear more responsibility is needed among industry giants.

Photo Credit: iStock

The Environmental Defense Fund has issued a plea to ExxonMobil after its new deal with Pioneer Natural Resources, calling on the dirty fuel company to take a leaf out of its new partner's book and get serious about decarbonization. 

ExxonMobil's $59.5 billion merger with Pioneer, an oil and gas exploration company with access to 850,000 acres in the Midland Basin in Texas, will deliver an estimated 16 billion barrels of oil resource in the Permian Basin — one of the highest-producing oil fields in the United States. 

The EDF has praised Pioneer for its "industry-leading" efforts to report on methane pollution while noting that Exxon has "fallen short" in this area. 

The concern is that Exxon could go either way with this new deal, continuing on the path Pioneer has chosen or essentially wiping out those efforts to be more transparent about pollution. 

"Exxon now faces a choice: double down on old, dirty ways of doing business, or use this acquisition to demonstrate to its investors that it is serious about its decarbonization efforts," the EDF said. 

The advocacy group noted that Exxon's method of reporting methane pollution using "emission factors" is "antiquated" and "consistently undercount emissions and regularly miss major leaks." 

"If an Exxon-Pioneer deal goes through, nearly 300 million barrels of oil equivalent annually would no longer be covered by Pioneer's industry-leading methane management and reporting commitments and would likely revert to Exxon's own outdated and inadequate practices," the EDF said

International business news website Quartz pointed out that ExxonMobil CEO Darren Woods told CNBC that the merged company will be looking to move Pioneer's net-zero carbon plan forward from 2050 to 2035, but it's not clear how it intends to do so. 

According to the International Energy Agency, oil and gas operations are responsible for 15% of the total global energy pollution yearly, or more than 5.6 billion tons

It's clear more responsibility is needed among industry giants to reduce these levels, or at least to accurately account for their own impact. The fear is that this new merger will make small signs of progress in this regard irrelevant. 

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