ExxonMobil Corp. is urging the Trump administration to not pull out of the landmark climate change agreement cobbled together in late 2015 by more than 200 countries.
The largest natural gas producer in North America, in a letter March 22, responded to an inquiry from the administration about its views on the Paris Agreement hammered out by the Conference of Parties, or COP21, formally known as the 2015 United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change.
"It is prudent that the United States remain a party to the Paris Agreement to ensure a level playing field, so that global energy markets remain as free and competitive as possible," wrote ExxonMobil's Peter W. Trelenberg, who manages environmental policy and planning.
The agreement requires participating nations to submit carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions reduction plans and review those plans every five years to keep a global temperature rise below 2 C above pre-industrial levels. The 2 C threshold is generally considered the point past which the most severe effect of climate change would occur.
President Trump signed an executive order on Tuesday to re-examine the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency's Clean Power Plan, considered one of President Obama's signature legislative achievements.The order is seen by many as a prelude to withdrawing the United States from the Paris Agreement, which President Trump has hinted he favors.
"We welcomed the Paris Agreement when it was announced in December 2015 and again when it came into force in November 2016," Trelenberg wrote. "We have reiterated our support on several occasions in opinion pieces and blog posts, most recently by our Chairman and CEO Darren Woods."
The Paris Agreement, he said, unlike the Kyoto Agreement, "is the first major international accord to address climate change that includes emissions reduction pledges from both developed and developing economies...
"We believe that the United States is well positioned to compete within the framework of the Paris Agreement, with abundant low-carbon resources such as natural gas, and innovative private industries, including the oil, gas and petrochemical sectors."
Using more natural gas "has helped the United States achieve 20-year lows in CO2 emissions and according to the U.S. Energy Information Administration has prevented 1 billion metric tons of CO2 from being emitted into the atmosphere since 2005."