BP to cap green­house gas emis­sions

En­ergy giant pledges ‘ag­gres­sive ac­tion’ to tackle cli­mate change, but ac­tivist groups say it isn’t enough

The Daily Telegraph - Business - - Business - By Jil­lian Am­brose

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.”

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