Exxon mulls pledging net-zero carbon emissions by 2050 -sources

Aug 5 (Reuters) - Exxon Mobil Corp (XOM.N) is considering a pledge to reduce its net carbon emissions to zero by 2050, according to two people familiar with the matter.

The deliberations come as the company is considering its future, the sources said, speaking on the condition of anonymity because the discussions are private. They also comesome two months after the oil major's shareholders replaced three Exxon directors with candidates proposed by a new hedge fund. The hedge fund pressured Exxon to boost returns and better prepare itself for a low-carbon world.

Exxon has not made a final decision on the net-zero pledge, according to The Wall Street Journal, which first reported that the pledge is being considered. It added that the company planned to unveil a series of strategic moves on environmental and other issues before the end of 2021.

Exxon declined to comment, sayingdeliberations of the board are private, but said it is committed to working to decarbonize high-emitting sectors and invest in technologies that will help society achieve a net zero future.

"Throughout our engagement process with shareholders, we have heard clearly their interest in our work in this area and affirm our commitment," it said in a written response.

A logo of Exxon Mobil Corp is seen at the Rio Oil and Gas Expo and Conference in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil September 24, 2018. REUTERS/Sergio Moraes/File Photo

Chief Executive Darren Woods said last week that Exxon had started working with the new directors in June for in-depth reviews of its businesses, including its approach to the energy transition.

Exxon currently plans to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by an estimated 30% in its oil and gas production business, as part of a plan that is expected to be achieved by 2025.

In July, the largest U.S. oil company also joined some of the world's other top oil firms in setting up goals to cut their greenhouse gas emissions as a proportion of output.

But Exxon's plan, which covers emissions from its direct operations and from the power it uses for its operations, has lagged those of its European rivals. BP Plc (BP.L) and Royal Dutch Shell Plc (RDSa.L) have also pledged to cut emissions from products sold in their plans.

Exxon was also recently embroiled in controversy after a lobbyist for the company said it supports a carbon tax publicly because the plan to curb climate change would never gain enough political support to be adopted. CEO Woods condemned those comments. read more

Reporting by Sahil Shaw in Bengaluru and Svea Herbst Bayliss in New York; additional reporting by Sabrina Valle in Houston; Editing by Aditya Soni and Marguerita Choy

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