BP pledges net zero emissions by 2050, but details remain light

BP’s new chief executive Bernard Looney yesterday announced plans to become a net zero emissions company by 2050 or sooner, in what would be a drastic reorganisation of the global oil giant’s business.

Along with absolute net zero commitments across all of BP’s operations, the company will also cut the carbon intensity of products it sells by 50% by 2050 at the latest.

BP’s focus on reducing emissions was widely expected in the context of mounting pressure from climate change activists and after similar pledges on carbon intensity were made by rival firms such as Norway’s Equinor and Spanish firm Repsol.

“The world’s carbon budget is finite and running out fast; we need a rapid transition to net zero. We all want energy that is reliable and affordable, but that is no longer enough,” said Looney in yesterday’s speech.

“It must also be cleaner. To deliver that, trillions of dollars will need to be invested in replumbing and rewiring the world’s energy system. It will require nothing short of reimagining energy as we know it.

“This will certainly be a challenge, but also a tremendous opportunity. It is clear to me, and to our stakeholders, that for BP to play our part and serve our purpose, we have to change.”

However, Looney failed to provide sufficient detail on how BP will achieve its net zero target, with no concrete targets set for reducing oil and gas exploration and increasing renewables investment.

BP spent just 3% of its total capital expenditure on renewable energy projects in 2018.