Addressing Climate Change
One of the greatest challenges for the 21st century is the increasing
temperature of the planet. In the last century,
the Earth's surface warmed 0.6C. The
Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change
estimates that temperatures could rise by between
1.4 and 5.8C by the end of this century. BP's
position on this issue is clear. Greenhouse gas
levels are rising and the balance of scientific
opinion links that rise to the increase in our
planet's surface temperatures. As a major provider
of energy, we believe we have a responsibility to
take a lead in finding and implementing solutions
to climate change.
BP was the first major energy
company to acknowledge that precautionary steps
were needed to reduce greenhouse gas emissions.
In 1997, we set a companywide emissions target â€
despite an increasing demand for energy,
we sought to achieve a greenhouse gas emission
level from our operations that was 10 percent
below that of 1990. We reached that target at the
end of 2001, nine years ahead of schedule. But
finding solutions to a global challenge like climate
change requires innovation and new thinking.
That's why we are investing
$350 million in a program to improve the energy
efficiency of our operations and reduce emissions
from BP facilities by a further one million tons
each year. It's also why we're supporting science
and research at Princeton University that could
reduce global emissions. And why, at our natural
gas facility in Algeria,we're taking CO2 that would
otherwise be released into the air and safely
returning it to the natural environment where it
came from: a mile underground. This capture
and storage project is one of the largest ever
undertaken, and we hope to replicate it in other
parts of the world, including the U.S.
A Healthy Global Debate
BP is working hard on
developing a number of technology-based
options to reduce greenhouse gas emissions from
the use of fossil fuels. We think a portfolio of
technologies and public policies will be required.
Some of the most intriguing new ideas include
market-based policy instruments, such as
emissions trading systems.Throughâ€cap and tradeâ€
agreements, companies are given allowances to
generate specified levels of emissions, along with
a clear choice. They must find ways to keep their
emissions below a permitted level or purchase
additional allowances from another participant in
the marketplace. BP was an active participant
in forming the European Union's Emissions
Trading System earlier this year. Similar options
for carbon are being discussed in the U.S., where
sulfur dioxide trading has been successfully in
place for some time. These proposals deserve
close examination and a healthy debate among
all stakeholders to develop the most achievable,
effective policy responses to climate change.
There may not be one answer to the question
of climate change. But innovation, fresh thinking
and discussion are helping us move closer.
It's a start.