EGEB: Oil and gas giant Equinor pledges to become net zero

In today’s Electrek Green Energy Brief (EGEB):

  • Equinor is the latest European fossil-fuel giant to announce a new net zero emissions goal.
  • The US quits the Paris Agreement tomorrow — here’s what happens next.
  • Convenience-store chain Wawa hosts an EV parade in Virginia — and gives away a Tesla Model 3 lease.
  • Arcadia Power is committed to making clean energy work for the planet and Americans’ bank accounts — all without changing your utility company. Sign up to receive your $20 Amazon Gift Card — *ad.

Equinor pledges net zero

Norwegian company Equinor has become the latest European fossil-fuel giant to announce that it will work toward reaching net zero by 2050. The company says the goal will cover emissions from both energy production and final consumption. It plans to present an updated strategy in June 2021. Carbon capture technologies will play a key role in its new strategy.

Yesterday’s announcement was timed to coincide with new CEO and president Anders Opedal’s first day. Opedal said [via Business Green]:

Equinor is committed to being a leader in the energy transition. It is a sound business strategy to ensure long-term competitiveness during a period of profound changes in the energy systems as society moves toward net zero.

In April, Equinor quit the oil lobbying group Independent Petroleum Association of America (IPAA) due to its lack of climate-change policy. As Electrek has previously reported, Equinor officially recognizes that climate change is real, and publicly states that it intends to align with the Paris Agreement. But it still “expects to deliver an average annual oil and gas production growth of around 3% from 2019 to 2026,” says Business Green.

Paris Agreement withdrawal

As of midnight Eastern, the US leaves the Paris Agreement, the 2015 pact between 197 countries to stop global warming “well below” 2C, and work to hold it at 1.5C. Donald Trump formally withdrew the US from the global climate pact on November 4, 2019. The timing in relation to the US election is coincidental, but the outcome of the election will impact what happens next.

What happens next if Donald Trump wins: The US, the second-largest polluter in the world, stays out of the Paris Agreement, and thus out of climate geopolitics. Europe will have to lead on climate efforts, and lack of active US participation takes pressure off other major polluters such as Brazil and India. Politico writes:

The US State Department will no longer be an active member at UN climate meetings on the Paris deal. But it will remain an observer, allowed to sit in, and a member of the UN Framework Climate Convention (of which the Paris deal is just a part). No one really knows how this will work.

What happens next if Joe Biden wins: Biden says he will re-enter the Paris Agreement with an executive order on his first day in office. The US would then need to submit a nationally determined contribution (NDC), or emissions-slashing plan. Politico continues:

There is the question of money. The US committed $3 billion to the UN Green Climate Fund, which helps poorer countries cope with climate change and move to clean energy. Obama paid $1 billion of that amount.

Biden has said he will ‘recommit’ to the fund, which implies back-paying the US debt. But that commitment is several years old and the hosts of COP26 — the UK government — are calling for rich countries to double their previous climate finance commitments.

Wawa celebrates EVs

Pennsylvania-headquartered convenience-store chain Wawa, which operates more than 900 stores in Pennsylvania, New Jersey, Delaware, Maryland, Virginia, Florida, and Washington, DC, held an electric vehicle parade in Vienna, Virginia, to celebrate its 500,000th chainwide EV customer.

It also announced the winner of its #WawaRun in an EV” sweepstakes, which invited Virginia residents to enter to win a three-year Tesla Model 3 lease. (The lucky winner is named Luis.)

Wawa debuted EV charging stations in 2017. To date, it hosts 35 EV charging stations, including 32 Supercharging sites and three Electrify America CCS and CHAdeMO stations. It intends to reach 40 by year’s end. Wawa opened its first EV-only prototype this year in Vienna, where the celebration took place. Wawa also presented the Vienna Conservation and Sustainability Commission with a donation.

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