Reproduced from Goldman Sachs Investment Research; Chart: Axios Visuals

Big Oil's transatlantic split on climate change is really on display of late, with a couple of recent reports highlighting the differences.

Driving the news: "Royal Dutch Shell will announce a major restructuring by the end of the year as the energy company prepares to accelerate its shift towards low-carbon, CEO Ben van Beurden told employees," Reuters reports.

  • Meanwhile, a detailed new report from the nonprofit Carbon Tracker Initiative finds a "widening Atlantic divide" on companies' emissions plans.
  • The study out this morning also highlights differences among the European majors, putting Eni, Repsol and BP in their top tier.

Where it stands: A wider Goldman Sachs report, which we covered last week, about the economic potential of clean technology shows how renewables are a growing, though still small, share of European oil majors' capital spending.

  • One finding is that oil-and-gas investment cuts during the downturn boost the percentage of renewables spending, Goldman notes.
  • Nonetheless, they also write that "the transition of the European Big Oils into Big Energy is accelerating" as companies also move into not just renewables but also retail power markets, EV charging and more.

The intrigue: European majors have also been boosting their climate pledges in recent months, setting ambitious long-term targets eschewed by U.S. giants ExxonMobil and Chevron.

  • A number are vowing to become "net-zero" emissions by mid-century, though the pathways to get there remain somewhat vague and aspirational.
  • And setting targets for Scope 3 emissions — that is, CO2 from the use of their fuels in the economy — is now the coin of the realm.

Yes, but: A brief Wood Mackenzie note Friday highlights the European-U.S. divide, but also points out that for European companies "zero carbon is a big growth opportunity globally, but the Majors’ pipeline of projects is still modest."

  • "Sizeable acquisitions, including renewables and utility companies, will be needed if they are to achieve scale in new energy, broaden reach and build capability," WoodMac's Simon Flowers writes.
  • And Carbon Tracker Initiative, in summarizing their study, points out: "Most oil majors have set climate ambitions that leave them free to increase production or ignore the full impact of burning their future oil and gas."

Go deeper

Amazon stakes climate tech startups

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

Amazon just named the first recipients of money from the $2 billion venture fund it rolled out in June to help companies develop climate friendly technologies.

Driving the news: Amazon, which has pledged to have "net zero" emissions by 2040, said on Thursday morning initial recipients are...

Amy Harder, author of Generate
Sep 17, 2020 - Energy & Environment

How sudden geopolitical events bring about long-term changes in oil use

Expand chart
Reproduced from Morgan Stanley; Chart: Axios Visuals

Sudden changes in world politics can bring about permanent changes in oil-and-gas use, per a recent Morgan Stanley report.

Driving the news: Geopolitical unrest in the late '70s and early '80s — the Iranian Revolution and start of the Iran-Iraq war — disrupted a lot of oil supply that, in turn, sent prices skyrocketing. That sudden jolt to the global oil system permanently cut oil consumption per capita that’s stayed with the world ever since, says Martijn Rats, managing director for equity research for Morgan Stanley.

Updated 56 mins ago - Politics & Policy

Coronavirus dashboard

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

  1. Global: Total confirmed cases as of 12 p.m. ET: 30,241,377 — Total deaths: 947,266— Total recoveries: 20,575,416Map.
  2. U.S.: Total confirmed cases as of 12 p.m. ET: 6,681,251 — Total deaths: 197,763 — Total recoveries: 2,540,334 — Total tests: 91,546,598Map.
  3. Politics: Trump vs. his own administration on virus response.
  4. Health: Massive USPS face mask operation called off The risks of moving too fast on a vaccine.
  5. Business: Unemployment drop-off reverses course 1 million mortgage-holders fall through safety netHow the pandemic has deepened Boeing's 737 MAX crunch.
  6. Education: At least 42% of school employees are vulnerable.