BP Reaches Emissions Goals 8 Years Ahead of Schedule

Company emissions have fallen 10 million tonnes below 1990 levels.

Published: 13-Mar-2002

PALO ALTO, California, March 12, 2002 (ENS) - Energy giant BP announced Monday it has reached its self imposed greenhouse gas emissions reduction targets eight years ahead of schedule, and is now expanding its efforts to combat global climate change. In a speech at Stanford University, BP chief executive Lord John Browne said the global warming goals were achieved at no net cost to the company.

Browne told the audience at the Stanford Graduate School of Business that BP has reduced its greenhouse gas emissions by more than nine million metric tonnes over the past four years. In 1997, BP pledged to slash emissions from its own operations by 10 percent from 1990 levels by 2010 - a goal now reached eight years early.

"In 1997," Browne said, "we accepted that the risks were serious and that precautionary action was justified. We were the first company in our industry to do so, and the first to say that if we were asking other people to take precautionary action we had to show what was possible and to set an example." "At that time, we didn't know precisely how we were going to achieve our target - but we had some initial ideas," he continued. "Now, five years on, I'm delighted to announce that we've delivered on that target."

The company's emissions of carbon dioxide (CO2) have fallen to almost 80 million tonnes, 10 million tonnes below 1990 levels and 14 million tonnes below the level they had reached in 1998, Browne noted.

The company now plans to contain its future net emissions at this new, lower level through the next decade - despite plans to grow its oil and gas production by 5.5 percent a year until 2005, Browne said.

"On that basis, if we take no further action, the emissions from our operations will increase by something like 50 million tonnes - from 80 million tonnes now to 130 million tonnes by 2012," Browne said. To stabilize the company's emissions at current levels, BP will need to improve the energy efficiency of its operations and reduce the amount of greenhouse gasses it emits in its energy production activities, he said.

"By applying existing knowledge across the span of our operations, and selective new capital investment in areas such as cogeneration, we believe we can achieve a 10-12 percent improvement in the efficiency of our energy use," Browne explained. "In total, we think we can deliver around half the reductions necessary to sustain our internal emissions at 10 percent below 1990 levels through efficiency gains." The remaining half of the company's emissions reductions will entail the use of carbon credits resulting from the company's accelerated shift to natural gas and other lower carbon products, as well as cleaner transport fuels and lubricants essential to the development of lower emission engines, Browne said. Natural gas now represents more than 40 percent of the company's energy production, and will increasingly substitute for higher carbon fuels in emerging economies such as China.

"We will offer refined products that are designed to enable improved efficiency, or greater emissions reductions, to occur when they are used by others," Browne said. "For example, we believe that if every car driver in Europe used the best lubricant we have available today, CO2 emissions would fall by 30 million tonnes a year."

Within the next three years, BP intends that 50 percent of the company's fuel sales at the pump will be so called "clean fuels," including zero sulfur fuels, Browne said.

"On an industry basis, by utilizing a systems approach combining advances in the technology of fuels, lubricants and engines, a reduction of up to 400 million tonnes of CO2 emissions by 2010 is conceivable," he added.

BP also plans to continue expanding its solar business, which is expected to grow by 40 percent this year and which already has a 17 percent share of the world market.

The company is also looking at other potential energy sources, including hydrogen, and at methods of capturing and permanently storing excess CO2 emissions. For example, BP will help preserve forests, which absorb atmospheric carbon dioxide.

The conservation group Environmental Defense praised BP, a member of its Partnership for Climate Action, for its initiative in reaching its initial emissions reduction targets eight years early.

"BP made history at Stanford in 1997 when it became the first in its industry to make a firm commitment to reduce greenhouse gases," said Environmental Defense executive director Fred Krupp. "They demonstrated they could achieve their goal earlier than expected and with no net cost to the company. Now, the company has again set the industry standard for developing the performance based solutions needed to overcome Earth's greatest environmental threat."

"This is an important message for all corporate leaders and government officials to hear," added Krupp.

BP's solar division is one of the world's largest producers of solar technology such as these photovoltaic cells Krupp said it is particularly important that BP is focusing on reducing emissions from the transportation sector, which now accounts for 26 percent of U.S. greenhouse gas emissions. Besides developing cleaner fuels, the company plans to work with the automotive industry to promote the development of more efficient, cleaner engines.

"I believe the American people expect a company like BP - the largest single supplier of oil and gas in this country - to offer answers and not excuses," Browne concluded. "People expect successful companies to take on challenges, to apply skills and technology and to give them better choices. Well, we are ready to do our part - to reinvent the energy business, to stabilize our emissions - and, in doing so, to make a contribution to the challenge facing the world."

The text of Browne's speech is available at: http://www.bp.com/centres/press/stanford

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