While the political debate on climate change continues, many big corporations are acting as if transition to less carbon-intensive energy is inevitable and doubling down on their commitment to reducing carbon emissions.
Many executives say they are locked into a lower-emissions trajectory driven in part by market forces, such as cheaper prices for natural gas and wind power, as well as pressure from investors, customers, and regulators at the state-level or in other countries. More than 350 companies, including Intel Corp., DuPont Co.and Monsanto Co. signed a pledge shortly after the presidential election expressing support for the Paris climate agreement and U.S. efforts to cut carbon emissions.
“Part of our plan to invest in renewables is to diversify our generation portfolio,” said Melissa McHenry, a spokeswoman for utility American Electric Power Co. “All of those investments don’t change with a change in administration, it’s a long-term strategy.”
AEP Chief Executive Nick Akins has previously cited cheap natural gas and falling prices for renewable power as factors in utility’s plans to reduce its carbon emissions.
Days after the presidential U.S. election, Suzanne McCarron, Exxon’s VP of public and government affairs, said on Twitter that the Paris Climate agreement was “an important step forward by governments in addressing the serious risks of #ClimateChange.”
In 2016, Exxon lobbied other energy companies to support a carbon tax and many large European oil companies have also pushed for a global price on carbon.
GM set a goal last September to get all its power from renewable sources world-wide by 2050.
Wal-Mart plans by 2025 to power half its operations with renewable energy and cut its greenhouse gases 18%.
Google said recently it would reach its goal of buying enough renewable energy to match 100% of the amount of power that it uses in 2017.
Andrew Mackenzie, chief executive of BHP Billiton Ltd., the world’s largest miner, told shareholders that he too hoped Mr. Trump would stand by the U.S. commitment to the Paris accord.
“More needs to be done” to achieve the agreement’s goal of limiting global temperature increases to 2 degrees Celsius, said BHP sustainability and climate change vice president Fiona Wild.