Richard Dixon: Last week Aberdeen City Council launched a partnership with BP in which the oil company will advise them on reaching net-zero carbon emissions. This seems a bit like asking a car dealer to help you redesign your public transport system. BP is sixth in the league table of oil companies’ global contributions to climate change, the largest contribution from a European company. Since 1965, it has been responsible for emissions equivalent to 34 billion tonnes of carbon dioxide, which is over 800 years’ worth of Scotland’s current emissions. Like many oil companies, BP now says that it is serious about climate change and will do something about it. In February, its new CEO unveiled a ten-point plan to make BP a net-zero company by 2050. Not surprisingly missing from the ten points was any intention to stop selling fossil fuels. But last month they went further and said they would reduce oil and gas production by 40 per cent over the next decade. Like the rest of the oil industry, a big part of what BP means by becoming net zero is that it will reduce the emissions involved in extracting oil and gas. The 30 times larger emissions from actually using the stuff remain someone else’s problem. BP has form for saying it is serious about climate change and then quietly forgetting about it again. In 2000, it spent $200m rebranding, saying that BP now stood for “Beyond Petroleum”, an idea which was soon allowed to die. The company had investments in some renewables but closed its solar arm in 2011. It has some renewables investments today, and says it plans more, but they are minuscule compared to the scale of its oil and gas operations. Has it really changed its spots this time? Only last year an investigation found that the five largest publicly traded oil companies have spent $1bn on “misleading climate-related branding” and lobbying to delay and weaken action on climate change since the landmark Paris Agreement was agreed in 2015. BP was the biggest spender.
Scotsman 15th Sept 2020 read more »