December 5, 2019 Responds to Repsol’s pledge to zero emissions by 2050

Earlier this week, amid the beginning of COP25, the Spanish oil company Repsol announced their plans to be carbon neutral by 2050, in order to align themselves with the goals of the Paris Agreement and keep global temperatures below 2oC. 

In response to the announcement, Yossi Cadan, Global Finance Campaign Manager, said:

“It is true that Repsol’s pledge is better than all other commitments from a fossil fuel company until this date, but it is still not enough. We don’t want to see a company that offsets its oil and gas production by planting trees. What we need is a real commitment to a complete transition from being a fossil fuel company to a renewable energy company. Only then they will show that they truly care for the climate, for social justice, for the lives and livelihoods of the communities on the frontlines of climate change, and ultimately for the future generations.”

Repsol’s new policy is filled with holes, to name a few:

  • “Repsol aims to achieve net zero emissions by 2050”. In order to achieve that Repsol is “planning to offset emissions through reforestation and other natural climate sinks”. What we need is an “absolute zero” and not “net zero”, which involved reforestation and other unproofed carbon sinks that will allow Repsol to keep burning fossil fuel instead of transitioning to become renewable energy company.
  • In the mid term Repsol aims to “reduction of its carbon intensity” or, in other words, to keep its total emissions while improving their technologies and efficiency. If Repsol intentions are honest, we would expect that Repsol reduce its absolute carbon emissions and not intensity based emissions. Our climate doesn’t care that Repsol improve their fossil fuel burning technologies, what counts is their consistent and gradual reduction of emissions until an absolute zero emission in 2050 with zero production of fossil fuels.
  • Repsol see “gas as the fuel for the energy transition”. There is no room for new fossil fuel development, natural gas included within the Paris Agreement goals. One of the most concerning observations in our global emissions data is a very robust and stable upward trends in emissions from natural gas. Therefore, plans to transition to a natural gas-based system are incompatible with international climate goals as demonstrated by a recent OCI report. 

“The good part is that Repsol finally recognized that the future is not in fossil fuels and that oil and gas assets are going to be stranded in a very short period. In this case Repsol is writing off  $4.8 billion Euros in assets because it recognizes they will not – or they can not – be exploited.

“All the major fossil fuel corporations are overvalued, because in practice their reserves cannot be put into production. It’s time shareholders recognize this and start pulling their money out of these companies.”