Business & Investment

BP’s lobbying for gas shows a crack in Reuters’ path to net-zero emissions

© Reuters. File Photo: BP branded gifts will be on display at an event with BP’s new CEO Bernard Looney on February 12, 2020 in central London, England. REUTERS / Toby Melville / File Photo


Shadia Nasralla, Simon Jessop, Kate Abnett

London / Brussels (Reuters)-Oil Major BP (NYSE :) has urged the EU to support. This is a move that reveals disagreements among investors and reflects the broader European controversy over the role of fossil fuels in the transition to low carbon. Carbon world.

The European Commission, which aims to reduce greenhouse gas emissions to net zero by 2050, plans to exclude gas-fueled power plants from the list of new investments that can be sold sustainably. However, last month we postponed the decision in response to complaints from some countries. Company.

The British BP was one of the lobbying opposition to the plan. In a December 2020 response to the Commission’s public consultation on this issue, the new rules could threaten financing of gas projects and prevent the transition from more polluted coal.

BP needs to be met to allow gas plants to be labeled green without the need for immediate installation of carbon capture and storage (CCS) technology, which is still considered too expensive for large-scale use. I called for an increase in emission limits.

Natural gas, when burned at a power plant, emits about half the CO2 emissions of coal. However, gas infrastructure is also associated with greenhouse gas methane emissions.

When asked about lobbying, BP said it strongly supported the EU’s climate goals. He added that natural gas allows for the transition from coal.

But when asked if BP’s gas advocacy was in conflict with its commitment to uphold the Paris Agreement, investors gave different answers. The company promised to reduce carbon emissions from barrels produced by 2050 to net zero, and to coordinate lobbying to support a net zero carbon policy.

Natasha Landelmills, stewardship director for asset management firm Sarasin & Partners, said BP’s lobbying questioned its commitment.

“If their capital investment (capital investment) is directed towards complete decarbonization by 2050, we would naturally expect lobbying to be in line with this goal. It is moving in the opposite direction. The fact that it looks like suggests a problem, “she added.

But others have pointed out the question of what the alignment with the Paris Agreement really means.

John Streur, CEO of Calvert Research and Management, a US asset management firm, said:

Another institutional investor said, on condition of anonymity, there were no problems with BP’s response and there was no blueprint for meaning in line with Paris, but added that it was not a good time to “stick out”. ..

“Fair transition”

The European Commission initially stated that gas plants would need to emit less than 100g of carbon dioxide per kilowatt hour (CO2e / kWh) in order to be displayed green. This is a level that is difficult to achieve even with CCS, BP says.

In a December submission to the Commission, BP urged the EU to set higher emission limits to encourage power suppliers to shift more capacity from coal-fired power plants to gas. did.

“Natural gas sets a dedicated threshold above the current 100g CO2e / kWh, enabling a shift from coal in power generation and heating, providing and providing dispatchable electricity that complements renewable energy. By doing so, it must reflect its role in facilitating an affordable and fair energy transition. Alternative fuels in transit. “

BP is not alone in gas support.

At least nine EU member states, including Poland, Hungary and the Czech Republic, have urged the Commission to label gas plants as sustainable, according to a document seen by Reuters. Other governments, including Denmark, Spain and Ireland, have urged Brussels to eliminate fuel.

European oil and gas producer Eni criticized in December that the 100 g / kWH threshold was too low, and the group including Total and Repsol (OTC :) is an energy mix.

Mario Mehren, CEO of Wintershall Dee, who signed the letter, said:

“Unused gas”

The Paris Agreement has set a goal of limiting global warming to 2 degrees Celsius from pre-industrial levels and aiming for 1.5 degrees Celsius.

The EU aims to reduce net greenhouse gas emissions by 55% by 2030 from 1990 levels and by 2050.

The role of gas depends on factors such as how much emissions can be captured and stored in the future, and correction of methane leaks from the gas infrastructure, the lead author of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) report. And a study at the Grantham Institute in Imperial College London.

“In that context, carbon recovery and storage-free, unabated gas is not part of a significant sustainable investment,” he added.

Sandrin Dixon Decreve, co-chairman of the Club of Rome think tank and one of the EU’s expert advisors on sustainable financial taxonomy, described the rules needed to reflect climate science.

“No one denies that gas can help the transition, but that does not mean that it complies with the Paris Agreement.”

BP’s lobbying for gas shows a crack in Reuters’ path to net-zero emissions BP’s lobbying for gas shows a crack in Reuters’ path to net-zero emissions

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