BP is under pressure over its increasingly bare hypocrisy on climate change this week, with the British Museum being called on to drop it as a sponsor, and protests in Australia and outside its AGM in London demanding it abandon plans to drill for vast new reserves in the formidable, inhospitable frontier of the Great Australian Bight.
Shareholders at the AGM are angry that a dramatic increase to BP Chief Bob Dudley’s pay sends the wrong message given the company is being hammered by oil market volatility, and are calling on the company to explain how it will respond to the global transition away from fossil fuels.
Exxon knew, and BP knows the impact it is having on the global climate. But instead of putting their businesses on a less destructive path, oil, gas and coal companies continue to chose to focus on denial, greenwashing and lobbying efforts, as they push for new reserves in deeper, riskier deposits, like BP’s plan to drill in the Great Australian Bight.
Six years on from the infamous Deepwater Horizon disaster, which is expected to cost the company $53 billion, the company is once again risking huge economic, reputational and environmental damage on a dire oil gamble; and is doing so at a time when most of the world has woken up to the disastrous consequences of remaining hooked on fossils, and is now racing into a clean energy future.
- There is no space for existing, let alone new fossil fuels in a climate safe world. In Paris last December, the world re-affirmed its commitment to holding temperature rise below 2DegC. BP’s venture into the Australian Bight would see it produce the equivalent of eight times Australia’s 2013 emissions from fossil fuels, and blow the country’s remaining budget to 2050. Similarly, new research shows no new coal plants – however efficient – can be brought online if the world wants to stick to its Paris promise.
- Pressure is on oil giants to be the solution, not the problem. For decades fossil giants have been aware of their role in driving climate change and the risks this poses to people and the planet, but still chose to pump their money into denying the science and rallying againstclimate policy. BP’s “base case” for fossil fuel demand assumes a devastating 4-6DegC rise in average global temperatures, but with investors, citizens and influential people waking up to the economic and environmental risks associated with BP’s business model, the company is under increasing pressure to show it is actively responding to the growing climate threat.
- Ending dangerous oil exploration will benefit people and planet. Despite paying out $20 billion in penalties for its Deepwater Horizon oil spill, BP continues to search for new reserves in deeper, riskier locations; such as the Australian Bight, where a spill could cost South Australia’s fishing and tourism industries over $1 billion, and decimate its rich marine ecosystem. Extracting and using oil pollutes the air,the water and the environment, and spills put people, their communities and livelihoods, local plants, fish and animals in danger. Only by plugging the boreholes – and favouring clean energy sources – will companies eradicate these threats.