Photo: Ken Jack/Getty Images

Exxon CEO Darren Woods put quite an exclamation point on the idea that U.S.-based oil majors aren't getting into an arms race with European rivals over long-term climate ambition.

What he's saying: Woods defended the company's approach at yesterday's investor day in New York, telling analysts that Exxon looks at the topic on a "global scale" rather than engaging in a "beauty match."

  • "Individual companies hitting targets and then selling assets to another company so that their portfolio has a different carbon intensity has not solved the problem for the world," he said, noting, “This is not a company challenge, this is a global challenge."
  • "We are very focused on trying to make sure we are talking about this holistically and actually taking steps to solve the problem for society as a whole and not to try and get into a beauty match, beauty competition around who’s sheet looks like what."

Why it matters: The comments come as multinational giants headquartered in Europe have recently expanded their longer-term pledges, including BP's recent pledge to become a "net-zero" company by 2050.

  • Big European players like Equinor, BP, Shell and Eni are also setting targets around Scope 3 emissions (that is, emissions from the use of their products in the economy), which is something Exxon and U.S.-based rival Chevron have not done.

The big picture: Woods and other officials defended Exxon's approach, citing projections of rising oil-and-gas demand for decades while highlighting their investments in low-carbon energy R&D in areas like algae-based biofuels and carbon capture.

  • Woods also said the company is on track to meet its target of a 15% cut in its methane emissions and a 25% cut in gas flaring this year compared to 2016 levels.

The other side: Edward Mason, head of responsible investment of the Church Commissioners for England, blasted Woods' comments about Exxon's climate posture.

  • He said via Twitter that Exxon is "pursuing an ugly strategy — ugly ethically & ugly financially — so it has no place at a beauty parade." The tweet on his personal feed also notes that Exxon's stock is at a 15-year low.
  • And Noah Brenner, the Houston bureau chief with Energy Intelligence, notes that Exxon "isn't being judged by activists — its being judged by investors."

Go deeper: The limits of Exxon's big legal victory on climate change

Go deeper

Updated 40 mins ago - Politics & Policy

Coronavirus dashboard

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

  1. Global: Total confirmed cases as of 4:30 p.m. ET: 21,020,216 — Total deaths: 761,393— Total recoveries: 13,048,303Map.
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  5. Cities: Coronavirus pandemic dims NYC's annual 9/11 Tribute in Light.
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Harris: "Women are going to be a priority" in Biden administration

Sen. Kamala Harris at an event in Wilmington, Del. Photo: Drew Angerer/Getty Images

In her first sit-down interview since being named Joe Biden's running mate, Sen. Kamala Harris talked about what she'll do to fight for women if elected VP, and how the Democrats are thinking about voter turnout strategies ahead of November.

What they're saying: "In a Biden-Harris administration women are going to be a priority, understanding that women have many priorities and all of them must be acknowledged," Harris told The 19th*'s Errin Haines-Whack.

Facebook goes after Apple

Illustration: Lazaro Gamio/Axios

Facebook is seeking to force a face-off with Apple over its 30% in-app purchase commission fee, which Facebook suggests hurts small businesses struggling to get by during the pandemic.

The big picture: Facebook has never publicly gone after Apple, a key strategic partner, this aggressively. Both companies face antitrust scrutiny, which in Apple's case has centered on the very fee structure Facebook is now attacking.