BP : Boiling Point

I wonder just what was said at this meeting.

“Oil CEOs at Davos debate tougher CO2 cuts as pressure mounts […] Jan. 22, 2020 […] The bosses of some of the world’s biggest oil companies discussed adopting much more ambitious carbon targets at a closed-door meeting in Davos, a sign of how much pressure they’re under from activists and investors to address climate change. The meeting, part of a World Economic Forum dominated by climate issues, included a debate on widening the industry’s target to include reductions in emissions from the fuels they sell, not just the greenhouse gases produced by their own operations, people familiar with the matter said on Wednesday. The talks between the chief executive officers of companies including Royal Dutch Shell Plc, Chevron Corp., Total SA, Saudi Aramco, Equinor ASA and BP Plc showed broad agreement on the need to move toward this broader definition, known as Scope 3, the people said, asking not to be named because the session was closed to the press. The executives didn’t take any final decisions. […]”

So what are Scope 3 emissions ? For the full outline of what this means, it is necessary to refer to the GHG Protocol behind the term.

For many years, companies like BP and Shell have resisted taking responsibility for the environmental and social disbenefits of their products. From despoilation of the natural world, to oppression of peoples, to the links to military conflicts, to climate change caused by the global warming emissions of their fuels, they have failed to respond to criticism, even when fined or reported upon.

Climate change in particular, has been treated as SEP – somebody else’s problem. Governments and blocs should insititute and enforce carbon pricing, according to economists at BP and Shell. If the world wants to control carbon dioxide emissions, argue the oil and gas companies, taxes should subsidise the application of Carbon Capture and Storage – locking CO2 back in the ground.

The most annoying argument is that energy consumers are responsible for climate change, by continuing to buy climate-busting fuels; it’s not the fault of the oil and gas companies, is it ? “Guns don’t kill people, people do” is the same argument used in the rabid American gun lobby context : offloading blame for access to military grade weaponry by the general population, and not admitting it is a problem that it is for sale in out-of-town hypermarkets. If inappropriate transport fuels were not for sale, people wouldn’t buy them.

Of the two, (BP and Shell), Shell, at least, is breaking somewhat with the mantra, and has clear ambitions to lower the net carbon dioxide emissions of its products – although the global initiative to curb methane emissions they are a part of is not so hot on performance.

It will interesting to see just what BP thinks will amount to taking control of their energy product emissions. With a new CEO, there are already rumours of a bit of shake up, and although I’m a bit “watch this space” blasé/blah about it, I am genuinely interested to see what emerges.

So often in the past, announcements from BP have resulted in meh moments; no cause for optimism or congratulations. I would genuinely like to be in a position to applaud what BP decides to do. After all, we can’t keep harping on about historical crimes and blame : we do need to make inroads into a sustainable future.

Too often, in the past, BP has said they’re so over petroleum, and then spent a few pennies (relatively) on a bit of alternative energy, renewable electricity or advanced biofuels, and then backed out, greenwashing their public relations over as they do so.

Let’s hope this new renewable energy enthusiasm extends beyond a paint job.