Climate-focused investors irked by BP’s pivot back to oil
LONDON, Feb 10 (Reuters) – Some climate-focused investors in BP (BP.L) voiced concern this week about the company’s announcement that it has scaled back climate targets and now plans to produce more oil and gas for longer, yet the company’s share price continued to surge on Friday.
Chief Executive Bernard Looney’s strategy revision on Tuesday included a cut to BP’s 2030 emissions reduction target. Three years ago, he took the helm with a vow to re-invent the oil and gas company.
Bruce Duguid, head of stewardship at Federated Hermes, which co-leads negotiations with BP over its energy transition on behalf of a large group of institutional investors called Climate Action 100+, voiced concern over Looney’s pivot.
“In the context of a very strong financial outcome, those investors with net-zero goals, including many of our clients, will be concerned at such a material change to BP’s 2030 absolute emissions reduction target,” Duguid said in a statement to Reuters.
Huge oil and gas profits should be returned to climate change victims, campaigners urge
HUGE profits declared by oil and gas firms should be channelled towards compensating for the loss and damages suffered by victims of climate change, campaign group Greenpeace has urged.
Following Shell’s announcement last week of its record high profits of £32.2 billion last year, BP is expected to announce record profits of its own tomorrow.
The firm has already announced more than £20bn profit for the first three quarters of last year.
Collectively, energy giants Shell, BP, Chevron, Exxon, and Total are believed to have pocketed almost £166bn in profits last year, said Greenpeace.
BP scales back climate goals as profits more than double to £23bn
BP has scaled back its climate ambitions as it announced that annual profits more than doubled to $28bn (£23bn) in 2022 after a sharp increase in gas prices linked to the Ukraine war boosted its earnings.
In a move that will anger campaigners, the oil and gas giant cut its emissions pledge and plans a greater production of oil and gas over the next seven years compared with previous targets.
The huge annual profit led to renewed calls for a toughened windfall tax, as oil companies reap rewards from higher gas prices while many households and businesses struggle to cope with a sharp rise in energy bills.
Kate Blagojevic, Greenpeace UK’s head of climate justice, said: “BP is yet another fossil fuel giant mining gold out of the vast suffering caused by the climate and energy crisis.
“What’s worse, their green plans seem to have been strongly undermined by pressure from investors and governments to make even more dirty money out of oil and gas. This is precisely why we need governments to intervene to change the rules.”
How much tax do oil companies usually pay?
Part of a wider article by BBC discussing the UK’s Windfall tax on big oil and gas companies.
Shell initially said it did not expect to pay any windfall tax for 2022, as its North Sea investments meant was not considered to have made any UK profits.
But on 2 February it announced that it would pay $134m (£108m) for 2022, and expected to pay more than $500m (£400m) for 2023.
BP said it would pay $700m (£583m) in windfall tax for 2022.
BP and Shell both received more money back from the UK government than they paid every year from 2015 to 2020 (except 2017, when Shell paid more than it received).
Shell also paid a negative amount of tax in 2021, taking its 2015 to 2021 total to -£685m of tax in the UK.
BP paid more money in tax than it received back in 2021, taking its total between 2015 and 2021 to -£107m.
BP makes historic £23bn profit as Brits freeze and the planet burns
Campaigners call for polluters’ tax as oil firms make record gains
UNION leaders have attacked Tory weakness on taxing big oil companies after BP announced record-high profits off the back of the energy crisis.
As millions struggle to heat their homes across the UK, the energy giant revealed it raked in $27.7bn (£23bn) in profit in 2022 — more than double the previous year.
The firm also admitted that it will miss its carbon emissions pledge, saying it was now aiming to reduce emissions by 20-30 per cent by 2030, down from 35-45 per cent, and will continue to invest in oil and gas.
It comes after oil firm Shell also reported bumper profits last week, totalling an eye-watering $40bn (£33bn) — the highest in the company’s 115-year history — with both firms benefiting from the sharp rise in energy prices linked to the war in Ukraine.
The obscene profits have sparked renewed calls for PM Rishi Sunak to toughen the government’s “inadequate windfall tax on energy firms.”
Davos 2023: Big Oil in Sights of Climate Activist Protests
Major energy firms including BP BP.L, Chevron CVX.N and Saudi Aramco 2222.SE are among the 1,500 business leaders gathering for the annual meeting in the Swiss resort of Davos, where global threats including climate change are on the agenda.
“We are demanding concrete and real climate action,” said Nicolas Siegrist, the 26-year-old organiser of the protest who also heads the Young Socialists party in Switzerland.
The annual meeting of global business and political leaders opens in Davos on Monday.
BP criticised over plan to spend billions more on fossil fuels than green energy
BP has been accused of prioritising fossil fuels over green energy as it plans to spend as much as double the amount on oil and gas projects than on renewable investments next year.
The FTSE 100 company has earmarked up to $7.5bn (£6.2bn) for oil and gas projects, compared with a range of $3bn to $5bn for green energy.
BP expects to increase spending on “resilient hydrocarbons” – oil and gas, refining and bioenergy projects – by up to $1bn in 2023.
In 2021 the company’s capital expenditure was $12.8bn and it expected to spend $14bn-15bn this year, and then $14bn-16bn a year between 2023 and 2025.
Within this, investment into “resilient hydrocarbons” will increase from $9bn in 2022 to “$9bn to $10bn a year” from 2023 to 2025, including $7.5bn a year on oil and gas projects.
Extinction Rebellion actions at fossil fuel enablers across London
From 11am on Monday November 21st, Extinction Rebellion and other aligned groups took nonviolent action at thirteen sites across central London, targeting the offices of companies and organisations which have links to the fossil fuel industry. The groups sent a universal message that it’s time to ‘cut the ties’ with fossil fuels.
Actions took place at BP, Hill+Knowlton Strategies, BAE Systems, Church House, Ineos, Eversheds Sutherland, Schlumberger, the International Maritime Organisation, the Institute of Economic Affairs, JP Morgan, Arch Insurance, the Ontario Teachers Pension Plan and the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy.
The actions follow the conclusion of COP27 in Egypt, which was widely criticised for the heavy presence of representatives of oil and gas companies. Hill+Knowlton Strategies, one of the companies targeted today, has worked for fossil fuel companies ExxonMobil, Shell, Chevron and Saudi Aramco and recently managed communications for Egypt’s presidency of the UN climate conference at Sharm El Sheikh.
Extinction Rebellion spokesperson, Sarah Hart, said: “Behind incomprehensible government decisions to double down on fossil fuel development, sign off new oil exploration licenses and allow the big energy companies to rake in record profits, lies a network of companies and organisations that are profiting from this destructive path.
“While the rest of us worry about the cost of turning the heating on our government is prioritising the profits of the very companies that are jeopardising our climate and environment. But everyday people are way ahead of politicians. They want to be able to heat their homes and they want a future for their children.
“So today, Extinction Rebellion are sending the message that it’s time to cut the ties with fossil fuels or lose the social license to operate in the UK.”
DETAILS OF THE ACTIONS:
XR Cymru at Hill+Knowlton Strategies offices, Clerkenwell Green
XR Cymru splattered fake oil over the offices of public relations consultancy Hill+Knowlton Strategies. Hill+Knowlton has worked for fossil fuel companies ExxonMobil, Shell, Chevron and Saudi Aramco and recently managed communications for Egypt’s presidency of the UN climate conference at Sharm El Sheikh.
Writers Rebel at the Institute of Economic Affairs, Lord North Street
Writers Rebel poured fake oil on the front steps of free market think tank the Institute of Economic Affairs. The institute, located just meters from the Houses of Parliament, has received money from fossil fuel companies, regularly publishes materials questioning the consensus on climate science and has huge influence on politicians.
Doctors for XR at JP Morgan, Victoria Embankment
Doctors for XR glued themselves to the windows at the London HQ of JP Morgan and pasted images to the front facade of the building depicting scenes of climate breakdown both here in the UK and overseas. JP Morgan are the world’s biggest fossil fuel financiers.
Christian Climate Action at BAE Systems offices, Carlton Gardens
Christian Climate Action left handprints of fake blood and oil on the offices of Britain’s leading arms manufacturer BAE Systems. BAE Systems supply weaponry to conflicts which increase the vulnerability of people living on the front lines of climate change. The arms giant also provides military and technical support to Saudia Arabia, enabling the regime’s oil production.
Christian Climate Action at Church House, Great Smith Street
Christian Climate Action also took action outside Church House in Westminster to highlight the Church of England’s failing strategy to stay invested in fossil fuels and influence the industry as shareholders.
A spokesperson for Christian Climate Action, said: “The Church should be showing moral leadership in rejecting profiting from investments in companies that continue to fuel climate suffering.”
Plastics Rebellion at Ineos offices, Hans Crescent
Plastics Rebellion sprayed fake oil outside the offices of Ineos, one of the world’s largest petrochemical producers and a significant player in the oil and gas market. Many of the plastics produced in the UK start their life at the INEOS Grangemouth refinery.
HS2 Rebellion at Eversheds Sutherland, Wood Street
HS2 Rebellion sprayed the offices of multinational law firm Eversheds Sutherland with fake oil. As solicitors for HS2 and Esso, Eversheds Sutherland have been forerunners in criminalising nonviolent environmental protest through the use of injunctions.
XR East of England and XR Youth at Schlumberger offices in London, Buckingham Gate
XR East of England and XR Youth poured fake oil over a globe at the offices of the world’s largest oilfields services provider Schlumberger to expose their complicity in ecocide. As the world’s largest oilfield services provider, Schlumberger enable fossil fuel extraction, operating in 120 countries around the world, with over 36,000 patents dedicated to extracting every last drop of oil and gas from the ground.
Ocean Rebellion at the International Maritime Organisation, Albert Embankment
Ocean Rebellion held protests outside the offices of the International Maritime Organisation where performances illustrated the UN shipping body’s refusal to regulate shipping emissions. A heavy plume of smog filled the air and an oil slick appeared on the ground with dead birds caught in it.
Money Rebellion at Arch Insurance, Great Tower Street
Money Rebellion poured fake oil at the offices of Arch Insurance. Arch Insurance are understood to be in negotiations with fossil fuel giant Total regarding the insurance of the East Africa Crude Oil Pipeline (EACOP), a project that will jeopardise important ecosystems, fuel climate change and pose significant risks to millions of people. Money Rebellion is there to say ‘Arch must rule out EACOP’.
Sky Rebellion at Ontario Teacher’s Pension Plan, Portman Square
Sky Rebellion poured fake oil in front of the London offices of Ontario Teacher’s Pension Plan. The Canadian based pension fund invests in infrastructure projects including the controversial expansion of Bristol Airport which it owns.
XR South East at BP HQ, St James’ Square
XR South East used fire extinguishers to spray fake on oil BP headquarters in central London.
A spokesperson for XR South East, said: “The addiction to fossil fuels must end. The huge fossil fuel corporations like BP and those who aid and abet them KNOW what we face. BP hides the dirty secrets that lie behind its latest big profit of £7,100,000,000. Enough is enough. Today we are exposing the ties between the collaborators and we will piece together the web of lies with our actions.”
XR South West at the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, Victoria Street
XR South West sprayed fake oil on the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy to protest against its plans to issue more than 100 new licences for exploration and extraction of oil and gas in the North Sea – meaning renewed and accelerating extraction way beyond 2030 and way beyond the UK’s Paris Agreement commitments.
XR Rhythms (marching between the locations listed above)
In June, London endorsed the Fossil Fuel Non-Proliferation Treaty, so XR Rhythms is marching through London to highlight the web of fossil fuel enablers still working in our city. We want to drum out fossil fuel investments and celebrate the future transition to a more sustainable economy!
[from an Extinction Rebellion press release.]
King Charles accused of helping BP ‘greenwash’ its image with royal seal
Republished from OpenDemocracy under Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 4.0 International licence.
The oil giant was recognised by the Sustainable Markets Initiative – despite missing out on top sustainability score
4 November 2022, 2.16pm
The King’s climate change initiative has been accused of helping BP greenwash its image by giving it a royal seal of approval.
The Sustainable Markets Initiative (SMI), which Charles launched in 2020 when he was Prince of Wales, granted BP a “Terra Carta Seal” even though the oil and gas giant had failed to achieve a top score from the sustainability ranking company assessing applicants for the awards.
BP is a founding member of the SMI, while its chief exec Bernard Looney chairs the SMI’s Energy Transition Task Force. BP also appears to be helping fund the SMI, although no financial links are disclosed on the “Terra Carta Seal” section of the SMI’s website.
Charles announced 45 corporate winners of the seal during COP26 in Glasgow last year, including AstraZeneca, Orsted and Unilever. BP was not mentioned on that list but was quietly added later to the list of recipients.
Charles is today hosting a pre-COP27 reception at Buckingham Palace with seal winners expected to be on the guest list.
He has described the seal as recognising organisations “which have made a serious commitment to a future that is much more sustainable”, saying it “puts nature, people and the planet at the heart of the economy”.
Environment groups have criticised the decision to give a seal to BP, which this week posted “eye-watering” quarterly profits of £7bn on the back of the surge in wholesale gas prices caused by Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.
“It’s concerning that BP, as a major sponsor of the Sustainable Markets Initiative, was able to be awarded the seal despite its track record of delaying climate action,” said Faye Holder, programme manager at the think tank InfluenceMap – which researches the impact of businesses on the climate.
“Awards like this run the risk of legitimising greenwashing.”
Clive Russell, a spokesperson for Ocean Rebellion, an activist group that spun out of Extinction Rebellion, said giving BP a seal undermined SMI’s credibility: “How can an initiative co-founded by a world renowned polluter like BP – a company currently investing £300m in renewables and £3.8bn in new oil and gas – be taken seriously? The SMI should be disbanded. Those involved should hang their heads in shame. This is blatant greenwashing.”
SMI makes reference on its website to criteria used by Corporate Knights (CK) – a research firm that assesses the sustainability of the world’s largest companies. “Recipients of the Terra Carta Seal have been assessed against CK’s indicators and methodology used for CK’s Global 100 most sustainable companies,” it states.
Analysis by Oil Change International found that climate pledges made by BP and seven other major oil and gas companies were ‘grossly insufficient’
CK, which worked “in close partnership” with SMI on the Terra Carta Seal, refused to disclose its assessment of BP. However, BP did not feature in CK’s Global 100 Ranking for 2021.
Some analysts have said BP’s environmental targets are more ambitious than some of its competitors but analysis by the group Oil Change International found that the climate pledges made by BP and seven other major oil and gas companies were “grossly insufficient”.
Holder said BP spent a lot of money promoting its green credentials but its claims were “out of proportion to the company’s actual investments in low carbon activities and its continued lobbying to weaken climate policies around the world, including the climate compatibility checkpoint in the UK”.
A spokesperson for BP said that the organisation was considered for the Terra Carta seal “as an active Task Force member of the SMI” and was “proud to have received it”.
Lloyd’s of London, the world’s largest insurance marketplace, also quietly received a seal. It was not mentioned in SMI’s press release last year and did not feature in CK’s Global 100 Ranking for 2021.
Lloyd’s has been criticised for being slow to exit fossil fuel underwriting and investments and in April was forced to shut its City headquarters after the building was barricaded by Extinction Rebellion activists.
A Lloyd’s spokesperson said the Terra Carta Seal was “a prestigious accolade which we are grateful to receive, but we are determined to be measured by our progress and delivering on our resolute commitments to be the insurer of net zero”.
HSBC, another seal winner not listed in CK’s Global 100 Ranking for 2021, was recently reprimanded by the Advertising Standards Authority after it ran a series of “misleading” climate adverts that failed to reflect the bank’s own contribution to the climate crisis.
An HSBC spokesperson said: “We are committed to a net zero future and support industry-wide collaboration into solving the challenge of how the financial sector and its clients can achieve net zero.
“We have had a policy since 2018 to stop supporting thermal coal projects and we are phasing out existing thermal coal financing. We have committed to a science-based phase down of our fossil fuel financing, are updating our sector policies including energy and deforestation to align with latest scientific guidance, and are setting science-based 2030 financed emissions sectoral targets for on- and off-balance sheet financing.”
A Buckingham Palace spokesperson declined to answer questions and said: “This is a matter for SMI.”
SMI and Corporate Knights did not respond to requests for comment.
Republished from OpenDemocracy under Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 4.0 International licence.