The Rising

The Rising covers how changes in the environment impact business, politics, and technology.

BP stands firm on its climate position despite pushback

2 min read
Oil

After Shell pledged to set emissions targets for its operations and products, BP has pressured to follow suit. And to an extent, it’s worked. BP has accepted a resolution put out by a group called Climate Action 100+, which describes itself as “an investor initiative to ensure the world’s largest corporate greenhouse gas emitters take necessary action on climate change”. That resolution affirms BP’s commitment to remain compliant with the emissions targets set forth by the 2015 Paris Agreement. But despite its commitment to abide by some proposals, the scope of BP’s commitment is certainly limited.

Only 8% of BP’s investors voted in favor of the proposal put out by another organization, Follow This, which wants BP to reduce its emissions across the board. That is, also “police” its customers in committing to reducing emissions as well. It’s no surprise that the oil giant wouldn’t commit to changing its entire course of business just to match Shell. Although it’s unclear how much BP contributes to greenhouse gas emissions on a sole basis, it is clear that committing to emissions targets would unequivocally reduce shareholder value.

BP’s Climate Position

Despite standing firm on its existing climate commitment, BP isn’t a climate change-denying organization either though. Just recently, it raised a $100 million fund to partner with projects looking to help reduce emissions. Specifically, though, the funds would go towards its own upstream oil and gas operations. Said operations are those related to identifying oil sites and drilling, in which BP invests over $15 billion annually.

With BP being an oil giant, it’s unsurprising that it won’t commit to certain emissions targets. But despite Shell’s seemingly bold commitment to reducing emissions, it still contributes to the $200 million spent towards delaying climate policy. Additionally, both BP and Shell contribute to a $195 million spending of said oil companies to run sustainability campaigns, per The Guardian.

Investments in Campaigns and Lobbying

Keep in mind that BP brings in some $303.7 billion in annual revenue. Spending hundreds of millions of dollars to run campaigns and lobbyist efforts hardly begins to scrape the surface of its organizational wealth. This disparity might have caused BP to not halt business relations with any of its lobbyist partners like Shell did. It donated $13 million to a campaign in Washington State, successfully blocking Ballet initiative 1631, which would impose “$15 fee on every ton of carbon dioxide produced in the state”. Lobbyist investments presumably save BP money by those measures, and by large margins too.

It’ll be interesting to see if BP continues to maintain its position in the long run.