Published: Sat, February 15, 2020
Sci-tech | By Patricia Wade

BP sets net zero targets for 2050 and plans reorganization to deliver

BP sets net zero targets for 2050 and plans reorganization to deliver

"BP's pledge to its reach net-zero carbon emissions by mid-century, including reducing emissions from the burning of products made from the oil and gas the company extracts, is more ambitious than pledges made by Chevron, ExxonMobil, and other major fossil fuel companies".

The company, who have also committed to more transparency, have stated their annual global greenhouse gas emissions at 55 million tonnes of CO2 equivalent (MteCO2e) and the oil and gas carbon as 360 MteCO2e. "But the transition to 2050 is a multi-decade transition, not something that will happen in the next year or so". BP has also pledged to end a global advertising campaign created to burnish its corporate image-which prompted a complaint alleging that it misleads consumers-and refocus on the company's net-zero climate ambition.

"The world's carbon budget is finite and running out fast; we need a rapid transition to net zero, " CEO Bernard Looney said in a statement.

A spokeswoman for climate change activist group Extinction Rebellion said the group welcomes BP's "recognition of the reality we now live in but 2050 is too late".

BP's move increases the divide between oil companies on either side of the Atlantic. Our historic structure has served us well but, in order to keep up with rapidly-evolving customer demands and society's expectations, we need to become more integrated and more focused. How, exactly, it's going to do that - along with the greenhouse gases it's responsible for - are still up in the air. "Looney deserves support and credit for starting BP on the journey towards carbon neutrality and policy leadership", said Fred Krupp from the Environmental Defense Fund (EDF), a US-based pressure group.

"I appreciate you want more than a vision - you want to see milestones, near-term targets, some ways to measure progress", Looney said in a question-and-answer pageon BP's website.

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Image was nevertheless also taking centre stage in Looney's presentation, which began with a counter-intuitive video that featured angry climate protesters together with their tweets that portrayed BP as greedy, uncaring and unresponsive to the global climate emergency.

This is not the first time BP has tried to reinvent itself.

"Building on the positive engagement with BP...investors will continue to look for progress from the company in addressing climate change".

"But the goal is not just to spend more money, it is to invest wisely-into businesses that will make a difference to the world", said Looney, adding that, "we aim to invest more and more in low-carbon businesses over time-and less and less in oil and gas". "These will be absolute reductions, which is what the world needs", he said. That means that absolute emissions can rise with growing production, even if the headline intensity metric falls.

BP will also set "new expectations" for relationships with trade organisations and be ready to quit if they are not aligned.

It plans to invest up to $3 billion per year between 2021 and 2025 - or around 10 percent of its total investments - in clean energy like electricity, wind, solar, biofuels, hydrogen. Its new organisation includes four units: Production and Operations; Customers and Products; Gas and Low Carbon Energy; and Innovation & Engineering.

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