Finance Finance News BP boss pledges to transform oil giant into a climate-friendly business

BP boss pledges to transform oil giant into a climate-friendly business

BP's new CEO said the oil giant needs a rapid transition to net zero carbon emissions. Photo: Getty
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Oil giant BP has announced ambitious plans to eliminate, or offset, all carbon emissions from its operations and the fuel it sells to customers by 2050.

The UK-based company said its goals included not only becoming a net zero emitter in its production of energy, but also reducing the carbon dioxide created by its customers.

BP CEO Bernard Looney, who only assumed the role two weeks ago,  said the company would shift to cleaner energy sources and develop technologies to offset emissions and extract CO2 from the atmosphere.

“The world’s carbon budget is finite and running out fast. We need a rapid transition to net zero,” Mr Looney said in a statement.

“Trillions of dollars will need to be invested in replumbing and rewiring the world’s energy system.

“This will certainly be a challenge, but also a tremendous opportunity.

“It is clear to me, and to our stakeholders, that for BP to play our part and serve our purpose, we have to change.

“And we want to change – this is the right thing for the world and for BP.”

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As you know we’ve been listening intently about the role our company should play in the world. And today, we are announcing a bold new ambition for bp. Simply put, we have got to change. We want to change. And we will change. We are setting out to be a net zero company by 2050 or sooner. And we want to help the world get there. We are going to undertake the biggest reorganisation in over a century of our company. And we are committing to performing while transforming. That means safe and reliable operations. That means delivering our promises to investors. From today onwards we are also taking steps to firmly and visibly align our intentions with our actions. That means becoming much more transparent. As ever, your thoughts are welcomed. Whether support or concerns. To build your trust we must listen. And we will. Check out the link in my bio for full details. #bpNetZero

A post shared by Bernard Looney (@bernardlooney_bp) on

In a presentation in London to climate scientists, investors and journalists, Mr Looney compared the announcements to setting a destination in a GPS.

“We’re starting with a destination. The details will come,” he said.

Mr Looney’s carbon pledge comes as other energy companies have acknowledged the oil industry’s responsibility in fighting climate change.

Royal Dutch Shell has outlined a “net carbon footprint ambition” to halve its emissions by 2050, while Spanish company Repsol has previously  made a net zero pledge similar to BP.

Climate Action 100+, a global group of large investors attempting to pressure major greenhouse gas emitters to clean up their act, welcomed BP’s announcement.

“We need to see a wholesale shift to a net zero economy by 2050,” Stephanie Pfeifer of Climate Action 100+ told the BBC.

“This must include oil and gas companies if we are to have any chance of successfully tackling the climate crisis,” Ms Pfeifer said.

Bob Ward, policy and communications director at the Grantham Research Institute on Climate Change and the Environment, told Associated Press that BP’s plans would put pressure on other oil companies to follow suit.

But Mr Ward said the company must do more to help the world meet its target of limiting global warming to 1.5 degrees above pre-industrial levels.

“What is lacking from BP’s announcement is any indication of whether the company accepts that there will be a major reduction in the global demand for its hydrocarbon fuels,” he said.

Mr Looney said details of how to achieve the goal would follow. Photo: Instagram

The plan

BP said it planned to help customers reduce their emissions by halving the greenhouse gases produced by its fuels by 2050.

The company said it would install monitoring equipment on all its oil and gas processing plants by 2023 to halve the amount of methane the facilities release.

It will also increase investment in “low-carbon businesses”, put less money into oil and gas operations, and end “corporate reputation advertising”.

It said this money will instead be spent on promoting carbon reduction. 

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