Mr. Looney, a Chief Executive Officer at BP, has announced the company plans to cut oil and gas production by 40% over the next ten years. This is part of BP’s plan to reach its goal of being a net-zero company by 2050. The phrase “net zero” should not be confused with “zero carbon.” Net zero refers to emitting an amount of carbon equivalent to that being absorbed naturally. Zero carbon is exactly what you think, the emitting of no carbon at all.
How to become net zero
But how can an “oil and gas” company become net zero? BP has come up with ten “aims”. The first five are to help them reach net zero, and the latter five are to help the world reach the same goal:
- Getting to net zero across our entire operations on an absolute basis by 2050 or sooner
- Getting to net zero on an absolute basis from our Upstream production by 2050 or sooner
- 50% reduction in carbon intensity of the products we sell by 2050 or sooner
- Measurement at all our major oil and gas processing sites by 2023, transparent reporting and 50% reduction in our operated methane intensity
- Increase proportion of investment into non-oil & gas
- Stop corporate reputation advertising and redirect resources to active advocacy for progressive climate policies
- Incentivize employees to deliver on our aims and advocate for net zero by increasing climate element in annual bonus for leadership and 37,000 employees
- Reframe relationships with trade associations and exit when appropriate
- Become a recognised leader in transparency for our sector – support Task Force on Climate-related Financial Disclosures (TCFD) recommendations and work to implement them
- Create a team dedicated to helping countries, cities and corporations around the world decarbonize
These aims don’t really lay out any specific plans, with a few exceptions. The main one is that they plan to reduce production. Mr. Looney has said production will continue, but the company is going to focus more on quality than quantity, and because of that focus, production will decline. The five aims to help the world attain net zero status are fairly clear, with the exception of exactly how they would be put into action. It isn’t mentioned in what I could see on their website, but watching the video they provide I noticed that carbon pricing was shown as being part of the world plan. Carbon pricing is basically placing a price either set by the market or the government on carbon that all emitters must pay in order to deter emissions.
BP following through
Many large companies and even countries have made promises and set goals to either reduce emissions or to become net zero. BP seems to be at the front of the line of companies that are actually beginning to do something to follow through with these promises. “We believe our new strategy provides a comprehensive and coherent approach to turn our net zero ambition into action. This coming decade is critical for the world in the fight against climate change, and to drive the necessary change in global energy systems will require action from everyone,” Mr. Looney is quoted on the BP website.