BP’s net zero by 2050 announcement: “We don’t have all the answers yet”

BP has set the ambitious target of being net zero emissions by 2050 or sooner, which has a lot of people scratching their heads as the company gives little explanation of how it will achieve this.

It appears the company hasn’t fleshed it out either, replying to confused people on Twitter that they “don’t have all the answers yet” and to check back in September.

BP’s new CEO Bernard Looney announced the new purpose of the company, ‘reimagining energy for people and our planet’, will mean BP will “fundamentally transform its whole organisation and maintain its commitment to performing while transforming”.

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In BP’s statement, it outlines five aims to get the oil and gas giant to net zero:

  1. Net zero across BP’s operations on an absolute basis by 2050 or sooner.
  2. Net zero on carbon in BP’s oil and gas production on an absolute basis by 2050 or sooner.
  3. 50 per cent cut in the carbon intensity of products BP sells by 2050 or sooner.
  4. Install methane measurement at all BP’s major oil and gas processing sites by 2023 and reduce methane intensity of operations by 50 per cent.
  5. Increase the proportion of investment into non-oil and gas businesses over time.

It continues with five aims to get the world to net zero:

  1. More active advocacy for policies that support net zero, including carbon pricing.
  2. Further incentivise the company’s workforce to deliver aims and mobilise them to advocate for net zero.
  3. Set new expectations for relationships with trade associations.
  4. Aim to be recognised as a leader for transparency of reporting, including supporting the recommendations of the TCFD.
  5. Launch a new team to help countries, cities and large companies decarbonise.

“The world’s carbon budget is finite and running out fast; we need a rapid transition to net zero,” Mr Looney said.

“We all want energy that is reliable and affordable, but that is no longer enough. 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.

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“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. And we want to change – this is the right thing for the world and for BP.”

The plan gives no concrete details as to the company’s business strategy, whether it will scale up renewables production or scale down oil or gas.

As such, it has been met with criticism, with some accusing the company of “greenwashing” or not being ambitious enough.

The company says it will be back in September with more information on the first five years.

Read BP’s full statement here.