Origin’s climate cognitive dissonance: failure to factor in emissions from much hyped new gas basins
The Australasian Centre for Corporate Responsibility (ACCR) is commenting on a newly released Climate and Transition Plan issued by Origin Energy (ASX:ORG). At Origin’s 2021 AGM, 44% of shareholders supported ACCR’s resolution requesting that the company align its capital expenditure with the goals of the Paris Agreement.
Harriet Kater, Climate Lead (Australia) at the Australasian Centre for Corporate Responsibility (ACCR) said:
“Origin states that it unequivocally supports the Paris Agreement, but continues to allocate capital to exploring for new fossil fuel reserves.
“Investors can no longer accept such contradictions.
“In a feat of mental gymnastics, Origin claims the current and future emissions from its exploration activities don’t count, since they may not amount to anything. This begs the question: why is Origin wasting investor funds on exploration activities that will either breach their climate targets or fail?
“The decision to exclude the significant new Beetaloo, Canning and Cooper-Eromanga gas basins from its medium term targets means the company is ignoring major potential emission sources.
“Origin enthusiastically promotes the massive resource potential of these gas basins to justify capex spending, yet falls silent when it comes to admitting the greenhouse pollution impacts.
“If Origin was serious about limiting warming to 1.5°C, it would stop spending shareholder money on gas expansion.
“Ernst & Young signed off on this approach, saying that it is “reasonable” and “defensible”. The role of auditors in facilitating potential greenwash must be addressed as a governance issue.”
ACCR will be producing a detailed analysis of Origin Energy’s Climate Transition Action Plan in the coming weeks, which will be made available on our website.
ACCR has filed a shareholder resolution to Origin’s 2022 AGM requesting the company include a climate sensitivity in the audited notes to its financial statements. This request is designed to address the way climate change is handled separately in sustainability reporting, often with conflicting assumptions to those used in financial statements.