Driven by concerns for climate change and dangerous health impacts from pollution, United Methodist Women members urged Chevron’s new CEO Mike Wirth to address methane waste during their quadrennial “The Power of Bold” Assembly, May 18-20 at the Greater Columbus Convention Center in Ohio.
Thousands of letters and postcards written by United Methodist Women members throughout the Assembly and online by members not attending the event will be delivered to Chevron when its board meeting in California later this month.
Methane, the main component of natural gas, is 87 times more potent than carbon dioxide when it is released into the atmosphere. In Ohio alone, natural gas producers reported wasting more than 13,000 metric tons of methane in 2014, enough natural gas to heat nearly 8,500 Ohio homes.
“Exposure to pollutants from fracking, compression or distribution sites or pipelines can cause respiratory diseases, heart attacks, reproductive problems, blood disorders, neurological problems, and cancer. Today over 15 million Americans live within a mile away from oil and gas facilities,” said Elizabeth Chun Hye Lee, Executive for Economic and Environmental Justice at United Methodist Women.
“Oil and gas companies leak an estimated $30 billion of methane into the atmosphere each year, wasting God’s resources and greatly accelerating global warming. Common sense solutions already exist, and the global oil and gas industry can reduce up to 75 percent of methane emissions using existing technologies,” Ms. Lee said.
Chevron only fulfilled two of 13 measures for managing methane reductions according to the “Disclosing the Facts 2017” investor report, compared to ExxonMobil’s score of 9. In addition, Chevron has not signed on to the guiding principles, “Reducing Methane Emissions Across the Natural Gas Value Chain,” while several peers of Chevron including ExxonMobil, Shell and BP have voluntarily signed and are taking measures to reduce methane emissions.
"Chevron must take important steps toward fixing their leaks, stopping new natural gas projects, and investing in renewable energy,” Ms. Lee said.
On May 30th Chevron’s shareholders will vote on a methane resolution citing the company’s lagging performance on methane disclosure. In the letters to CEO Mike Wirth, United Methodist Women urge support for the investor resolution to improve methane reporting and emission reduction.
United Methodist Women is the largest denominational faith organization for women with approximately 800,000 members turning faith, hope and love into action to improve life for women, children and youth around the world.