Tar Sands/Oil Sands Project at Risk as BP Ponders Unburnable Carbon
BP Chairman Carl-Henric Svanberg spoke out for a price on carbon, a shift from coal to natural gas for electricity generation, greater energy efficiency, and support for low-carbon technology after 98% of the company’s shareholders adopted a resolution to reveal what portion of its oil reserves would be unburnable in a realistic carbon reduction scenario.
While he said he was “pleased to support” the resolution and acknowledged that BP “need[s] to play our role in the action on climate change,” Svanberg sought to minimize that role. He said national companies account for 90% of oil production and land use is responsible for 25% of the world’s greenhouse gas emissions.
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Still, the shareholder decision “will heighten scrutiny on BP’s high-cost ventures such as the Sunrise tar sands project in Canada, which analysts warn could be stranded in a carbon-constrained future,” RTCC reports. “It comes after the £170 billion Aiming for A coalition of investors raised concerns that some of BP’s oil may have to stay in the ground as curbs on greenhouse gas emissions kick in.”
Darby notes that the fossil fuel forecast in BP’s long-term energy outlook for 2035 “will blow the carbon budget compatible with limiting global warming to 2ºC.” Svanberg said the International Energy Agency still expects more than half of the world’s energy to come from fossil fuels in 2050. But when it released that report, the IEA acknowledged its estimate would exceed the world’s carbon budget through 2100 by 2040.