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When it comes to Paris Agreement, energy scenarios from major oil companies are misleading, UD researcher says

By Eric Kounce TexasRaiser - Located south of Midland, Texas, Public Domain, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=4639595
Research published in Nature Communications finds six scenarios don't meet Paris Agreement goals.

In a new study published in Nature Communications, a University of Dayton scientist finds six scenarios by major oil companies are incompatible with the Paris Agreement’s climate objectives.

Researcher and Director of Sustainability Bob Brecha and his team looked at energy outlooks from BP, Equinor, Royal Dutch Shell and the International Energy Agency and determined all but the International Energy Agency were misleading in their scenarios published between 2020 and mid-2021.

Brecha says these scenarios are indicative of changes the companies think are needed in the global energy system to meet Paris Accord goals.

“What we’re doing is we’re saying countries around the world, including the U.S., signed onto an international agreement with Paris. We said 'We’re going to do this.' What we’re doing in our work is saying, ‘OK, do the published pathways that actually claim to meet that.' For the most part they don’t.”

The Energy Outlook is not a recommendation or prediction

Two of the oil companies WVXU reached out to did get back in time for this report. BP says the 2020 Energy Outlook Brecha studied isn't the most recent. There's a 2022 version. The company says it is not a recommendation or a prediction but just lays out various pathways to complying with the Paris Agreement.

From BP’s 2020 Energy Outlook introduction page 13: "The scenarios are not a prediction of what is likely to happen. Rather, the scenarios help to illustrate the range of outcomes over the next thirty years. The scenarios do not provide a comprehensive description of all possible outcomes."

Equinor emphasizes its report describes several different scenarios for the world economy, the international energy market and energy-related greenhouse gas emissions. To measure Equinor's compatibility with the Paris Agreement by using the Energy Perspectives report, “won’t be meaningful.”

Brecha believes if you publish something it should be accurate. He understands BP, Equinor, and Royal Dutch Shell are not talking about their own objectives but scenarios that could help people keep the average global temperature rise to one and a half degrees Celsius. He says these scenarios don't add up.

With more than 30 years of journalism experience in the Greater Cincinnati market, Ann Thompson brings a wealth of knowledge and expertise to her reporting. She has reported for WKRC, WCKY, WHIO-TV, Metro Networks and CBS/ABC Radio. Her work has been recognized by the Associated Press and the Society of Professional Journalists. In 2019 and 2011 A-P named her “Best Reporter” for large market radio in Ohio. She has won awards from the Association of Women in Communications and the Alliance for Women in Media. Ann reports regularly on science and technology in Focus on Technology.