Chevron announces $10 billion renewables investment, but stops short of net zero target

Chevron has committed to spend US$10 billion – more than three times the amount previously committed – on renewable energy operations over the next seven years, in a bid to cut its carbon emissions.

The latest pledge, which amounts to less than a 10th of Chevron’s planned annual capital spending between now and 2025, comes as the US oil major faces increasing pressure from climate change investors and campaigners.

Chevron shareholders defied management in May and voted for a resolution demanding the company set targets for so-called scope 3 emissions, or the pollution from the hydrocarbon products it sells.

In yesterday’s announcement, Chevron said it would increase production of hydrogen, renewable natural gas – derived from organic material – and renewable liquid fuels for use in transport, and capture or offset 25 million tonnes of carbon a year by 2030.

However, the statement did not mention any net zero targets or a new commitment to cut its scope 3 emissions, which amounted to more than 580 million tonnes of CO2 equivalent last year. This is in contrast to the targets to reach net zero by 2050 or sooner made by European oil majors BP, Shell and Total.

“Chevron intends to be a leader in advancing a lower carbon future,” said chief executive Mike Wirth. “Our planned actions target sectors of the economy that are harder to abate and leverage our capabilities, assets and customer relationships.”

Andrew Logan, senior director of oil and gas at Ceres, said Chevron’s announcement “looks like a step forward, but a relatively modest step when what is needed is a giant leap.”