Fossil fuel companies won’t save us from climate change. We need governments to step up
(The Guardian, 8 Feb 2023) The fallout when the industry fails to act is still smaller than the rewards for pumping out more pollution.
We have an early contender for the least surprising newsflash of the year: fossil fuel companies will not, of their own volition, save us from climate breakdown. The oil and gas multinational BP revealed on Tuesday that it set a record annual profit last year, reaching a staggering US$27.7bn thanks to Vladimir Putin’s murderous ego pushing global fossil fuel prices into the stratosphere. It more than doubled its 2021 profit.
The company that once rebranded itself as “Beyond Petroleum” celebrated this news by announcing it would scale back its climate change plans. It had expected its carbon dioxide emissions would fall by 35% to 40% by 2030 compared with 2019. The chief executive, Bernard Looney, says it has now scaled that back to a 20% to 30% reduction.
Put another way, BP has increased the forecast of how much oil and gas it will be producing in 2030 by 2m barrels a day. Profit is there to be had, and it says it would be ignoring its responsibility to its millions of shareholders not to grab it.