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Energy for the Future

ExxonMobil plans robust investment in research


We’ve all heard the term, “Go green,” especially when it comes to the environment and renewable energy sources. But what exactly does this mean to the average person? Why should we care?

The price of oil and cost of electricity is something many people think about on a monthly basis. Those costs are directly related to the market, but also the physical resources managed by companies and governments.

ExxonMobil has developed a plan to address some of these issues on a local and international scale and is planning for the shift in energy demand until 2040. This is called “Outlook for Energy: A View to 2040.”

This outlook is part of an annual plan the company uses to forecast market forces, but to also strategically address issues from a company perspective.

The Exxon corporate mission recognizes an ongoing, significant energy transition is underway, and these many factors will shape the world’s energy future. These include governmental policies and industry practices that seek to promote prosperity while also addressing the risks of climate change.

The world’s economic middle-class population stands to expand from three billion to five billion by 2030, according to the Brooking’s Institution. For ExxonMobil, this means a greater demand for improving living standards, greater use of energy whether used for transportation, electricity or industrial purposes.

“The rising middle class means billions of people with longer, healthier and better lives, which will also lead to greater travel, additional cars on the road and increased commercial activity,” Ashley Alemayehu, public and government affairs manager at ExxonMobil, said.

About one billion people still lack access to electricity and about half the global population live in countries where average electricity demand per person is less than the average kitchen appliance.

“Rising living standards for expanding populations worldwide mean a dependence on reliable modern energy,” Alemayehu said, “Combined, they are expected to help drive up global energy demand by about 25 percent by the year 2040. That is roughly equivalent to adding another North America and Latin America to the world’s current energy demand.”

One of the initiatives that ExxonMobil is implementing is lower emissions output.

Providing reliable, affordable energy to support growth and living standards and making sure to do so in ways that reduce the impact on the environment, including the risks of climate change is a dual challenge ExxonMobil is pursuing, Alemayehu said.

“Currently, oil and coal are the biggest contributors to the global energy mix, with a substantial share from natural gas,” she said.

As of 2016, oil is the most used form of energy, followed by coal, which produces the most harmful emissions. By 2040, it is projected that oil will still be in high demand, but the need for coal will have substantially decreased due to the world shifting toward sources of energy with lower emissions according to the Outlook.

However, ExxonMobil’s outlook is not just about lower carbon emissions. It’s also about climate change overall, and what ExxonMobil is doing to address scientific and marketplace concerns.

Climate change has been a controversial topic of debate and discussion both in terms of its economic and political impact. One item of contention was the U.S. withdrawal from the Paris Agreement. ExxonMobil, an international company, has its own plan to address the concerns included in the Paris Agreement through the 2°C Pathway.

Since 1992, when nations around the world established the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change, there has been an international effort to understand and address the risks of climate change.

After more than two decades of international effort, in December 2015, nations convened in Paris and drafted an agreement that, for the first time, signaled that both developed and developing nations will strive to undertake action on climate change and report on related progress.

The Paris Agreement “aims to strengthen the global response to the threat of climate holding the increase in the global average temperature to well below 2°C above pre-industrial levels,” stated in the UNFCC

“The global energy supply will continue to diversify over the next two-and-a-half decades,” Alemayehu said. “Society’s push for lower-emission energy sources will drive substantial increases in renewables such as wind and solar. By 2040, nuclear and all renewables will approach 25 percent of global energy supplies.”

Alemayehu said that energy efficiency gains will help CO2 emissions decline by 45 percent by 2040. For example, she said, that will include using more efficient equipment used in energy production and the entry of more energy efficient items into the consumer marketplace, like hybrid vehicles.

A long-term goal for the company is to continue to invest and expand its research and development to advance technology. Meeting energy demand safely, reliably and affordably — while also minimizing risks and environmental impacts — will require expanded trade and investment, Alemayehu said.

“The world faces a dual energy challenge: how to supply growing energy needs around the globe, while at the same time, addressing the risks of climate change. We’re committed to doing our part.” she said.

“As a company, we know the future of energy requires innovation and advanced technology,” she said. “And it will require practical and robust solutions to meet the wide-ranging needs of for stakeholders.

“We hope to broaden that understanding among individuals, businesses and governments. Energy matters to everyone, and we all play a role in shaping its future.”

For additional information about Exxon’s “2018 Outlook for Energy: A View to 2040,” visit https://corporate., or check out the company’s “Perspectives” blog at https://energyfactor.exxon

This story was produced in partnership with ExxonMobil.

Story by Rachel Hellums, UP contributor

Category: Features