Exxon’s Doesn’t Think We’ll Reach Net Zero 2050

Johnny Wentzel
ExxonMobil signs
Courtesy of Mining.com

If fantasy football has taught us anything, it’s that the Jets can’t be trusted and making accurate predictions is mostly luck. But this week, Big Oil is leaning on more than just luck to make some bold predictions about the future of climate change.

What happened: ExxonMobil released its Global Outlook yesterday, an annual report projecting the energy landscape, including emissions forecasts and the likelihood of the uptake of renewables and other clean technologies through the next several decades.

Although the report contained nuggets of optimism, the company was less hopeful about the chances of keeping global temperature rise below 2 degrees Celsius, as outlined in the 2016 Paris Agreement.

Digging deeper: The company points to the growing global population – which is estimated to increase by 2 billion people by 2050 – and the expected economic growth of developing countries as the largest potential contributors to missing global climate targets.

The devil’s in the data

Though it might seem sus for an oil company be making climate forecasts, Exxon’s previous predictions have actually turned out to be hauntingly accurate. One study in 1985 nailed current global temperatures with 99 percent accuracy.

  • The current report predicts that by 2050, energy-related carbon emission will still be over double the level needed to limit global temperature rise to 2 degrees Celsius over pre-industrial temperatures.

Zoom out: Exxon’s Global Outlook is slightly grim, but optimistic highlights in the report include the growing investment in technologies to reduce emission in hard-to-decarbonize industries, and an expected 5-fold growth in renewables. That may help turn the tide of an otherwise cynical prediction.

We have faith that the global community can turn this around, but we still don’t believe in the Jets. #GoBills.