BP to cap greenhouse gas emissions
Energy giant pledges ‘aggressive action’ to tackle climate change, but activist groups say it isn’t enough
BP HAS taken its first clear steps in the battle to tackle climate change by vowing to cap its greenhouse gas emissions until 2025 as pressure grows on Big Oil to clean up its act.
The super-major will hope to see off a rebellion from worried shareholders and activist investors at next month’s AGM with a fresh plan to cut 3.5million tons of carbon from its operations every year. This will enable the group to grow its fossil fuel business without increasing its overall emissions in the decade from 2015 when global governments agreed to tackle climate change through the Paris Climate Accord.
Bob Dudley, BP’s chief executive, unveiled the new strategy in London, saying the FTSE 100 energy giant would take “aggressive action” across all its business areas to make “real, measurable and transparent progress”.
“As our business grows, our net emissions will not,” he said.
Mr Dudley is under pressure to kickstart BP’s growth after almost a decade weathering the financially crippling fallout of the Deepwater Horizon oil spill and a brutal oil market downturn. The group increased its annual production of oil and gas by 12pc last year, but the energy giant’s return to growth has coincided with rising pressure from world governments to help reduce the emissions which are linked to dangerous levels of global warming.
“As the world demands more energy it also demands that it be produced and delivered in new ways, with fewer emissions,” said Mr Dudley. “To deliver significantly lower emissions every type of energy needs to be cleaner and better. That’s why we are making bold changes across our entire business.”
The group plans to tighten up the emissions from its oil and gas activities by running its rigs with technology which can stem the leak of methane, a powerful greenhouse gas, from its oil and gas projects into the atmosphere.
It is already replacing its “high bleed” rig controllers across US onshore oilfields and will put an end to routine gas flaring by the end of the next decade.
It also plans to shift its investment from oil to lower carbon gas, and has earmarked around $500m (£350m) a year to its investments in low-carbon power such biofuels and renewables.
Where these steps fall short of its bid to keep carbon in check, BP will compensate for the impact of fossil fuel production on the environment by continuing to work on green “carbon-offsetting” projects.
But green groups were left cold by the plan which they say does not go far enough. The targets are below the more ambitious goals set out by its Anglo-Dutch rival Royal Dutch Shell, which has promised to cut its carbon footprint by 20pc by 2035 and halve its carbon dioxide emissions by 2050.
“Improvements in BP’s operational emissions, while welcome, are too small to move the needle to prevent runaway climate change or reduce BP’s exposure to carbon risk,” Luke Sussams, of think tank Carbon Tracker, said. “Similarly, while BP’s investments in low-carbon technologies are needed, it remains just 3pc of its annual capital spend and so does not make up a significant part of BP’s business, as this report suggests.”