BP was nominated for their enthusiastic lobbying for carbon trading as a false solution to climate change, for cutting their investment in renewable energy, for massive investment in fossil fuels and for, inspite of all this, claiming to be green.
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BP has long portrayed itself as taking action to tackle climate change, claiming “a decade-long track record of advocating and taking precautionary action to address climate change” BP is certainly keen to be seen to advocate action on climate change, but an examination of its business shows that it is less keen on taking action itself – pulling out of renewable energy projects and advocating CCS and agrofuels.
In reality, BP’s action on climate change is clearly driven by the market, as its new position on climate change shows: “Our scale of activity in low-carbon business should be judged as an independent business decision, designed to create material future business opportunities for BP.”
BP has also been a strong advocate of carbon trading in Europe – an unproven “solution” for reducing emissions. BP played a significant role in designing the UK emissions trading scheme (ETS) which served as model for the EU ETS. Both these schemes have failed to deliver overall emission reductions. In contrast BP has successfully lobbied to get millions of euros in free permits, including free permits for BP refineries. By selling these permits, it has made huge profits.
BP reportedly spent $600 million on re-branding its facilities and advertising when it changed its name to Beyond Petroleum in 1997. But the company did not launch its alternative energy division until 2005, eight years after it became an apparent climate champion. BP claims to have invested $2.9 billion in “alternative energy” since 2005, just 4.2% of its total capital investment.
And BP’s “alternative” sources of energy include non renewable activities such as gas-fired power, carbon capture and storage (CCS), hydrogen, and non-sustainable agrofuels.
In 2009 BP slashed investment in renewable energy by almost 30%.
The company remains committed to ever-increasing production from oil and gas, exploring environmentally sensitive areas, including the Canadian tar sands, with devastating environmental consequences.
BP is a member of five of the six Copenhagen Business Climate Summit conveners and is an active member of the International Emissions Trading Association (IETA) which is lobbying the UN for a global carbon trading scheme.