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Photo: David Paul Morris/Bloomberg via Getty Images

The Wall Street Journal reports this morning that Exxon is "considering a pledge to reduce its net carbon emissions to zero by 2050."

Why it matters: It would be a major shift for Exxon, the U.S.-based multinational giant, which to date has opposed the long-term targets embraced by European giants like Shell and BP.

The big picture: It comes as Exxon — and the industry as a whole — faces growing pressure to act more aggressively on climate change.

Catch up fast: Exxon has vowed to expand activities around carbon capture and hydrogen, but overall has not been seeking to diversify as widely as European majors (though fossil fuels remain the dominant business for majors on both sides of the Atlantic).

Where it stands: Here's a little more via the WSJ's reporting based on "people familiar with the matter"...

  • "The Irving, Texas, company hasn’t made a final decision on a net-zero pledge...It plans to unveil a series of strategic moves on environmental and other issues before the end of the year, the people said."

What they're saying: Exxon, in a statement to the WSJ and Axios, said it would not comment on internal discussions. But spokesman Casey Norton also Exxon is "working to decarbonize high-emitting sectors through our new Low Carbons Solutions business and our ongoing investments to develop and deploy the technologies that will help society achieve a net zero future."

  • He said Exxon's cutting near-term emissions, citing their 2025 targets unveiled late last year.

Go deeper: Big Oil's climate earthquake

Go deeper

UN report: Effects of climate change even more severe than we thought

A wildfire burns in a forest over the village of Gouves, on the island of Evia, Greece, on Sunday, Aug. 8, 2021. (Konstantinos Tsakalidis/Bloomberg via Getty Images)

Global warming is happening so fast that scientists now say we'll cross a crucial temperature threshold as early as 2030 — up to a decade sooner than previously thought — according to a sweeping new UN-sponsored review of climate science published Monday.

The big picture: Atmospheric CO2 concentrations were higher in 2019 than at any time in at least 2 million years, and the past 50 years saw the fastest temperature increases in at least 2,000 years, according to the new assessment by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC).

Ben Geman, author of Generate
Sep 22, 2021 - Energy & Environment

The road to COP26 gets slightly easier

Illustration: Annelise Capossela/Axios

The bad diplomatic vibes heading into the critical United Nations climate summit in Glasgow, Scotland, might be improving slightly.

Catch up fast: Chinese President Xi Jinping yesterday pledged to end overseas finance for building new coal-fired power plants and boost support for clean energy in developing nations.

What the initial UN Climate Summit attendance list reveals

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

The UN Climate Summit set to begin Oct. 31 in Glasgow will bring an unprecedented combination of leaders for such an event (even Pope Francis!), and the likely absence of vital players — notably Chinese President Xi Jinping. 

Why it matters: The speeches and backroom meetings at COP26 between leaders on the summit's first two days will set the tone for the rest of the gathering. These will be moments when countries showcase any new pledges to cut greenhouse gas emissions in order to meet the Paris Agreement's targets.