The End of Big Oil
The End of Big Oil
The time for the end for Big Oil. Danny Chivers and Jess Worth have some good news.
ALWIN KROON / UNSPLASH
Has BP finally done something more than try to look green? The big oil company has made some big promises. The biggest promise is to cut its oil and gas production by 40 per cent by 2030. This is to reach ‘net-zero emissions’ by 2050. The media has written some positive news about BP and their share prices went up. But all is not what it seems.
The 40-per-cent cut in production drops to 28 per cent when you include the oil and gas extracted by BP’s partner, the Russian state oil company Rosneft. That’s less than a 3-per-cent reduction per year. This is not good enough. Carbon Tracker says we need to at least reduce global fossil-fuel use 50 per cent by the early 2030s, and stop using it completely by the 2040s. And that’s to give us a 50 per cent chance of keeping global warming at 1.5°C. To have a better chance, we should cut much faster. But BP still plans to sell oil and gas in 2050. This is after the point of climate safety. And it is using promises of ‘carbon capture’ technologies to get its net-zero numbers. The ‘carbon capture’ technologies are not yet proved and are expensive.
But should we think positive about BP for at least taking a step in the right direction? Well…not really. And here’s why. At the start of 2020, the oil industry already had big problems. There were price wars between Saudi Arabia, Russia, and the US. The cost of renewable energy and electric transport went down. This meant there was too much oil for the demand. And after another global climate movement pipelines were cancelled, new airports were cancelled, and the political power of fossil-fuel companies reduced after divestment and campaigns against sponsorship. As predicted in New Internationalist in 2014, we can see the end of the oil age. And the last six months of Covid-19 has really helped all of this.
Now no-one can stop the end of big oil. Companies and governments are cancelling many of the more expensive projects that put people’s lives, lands, and jobs in danger around the world. This is a good thing but it is not a careful and fair change to a green economy. With the problems for the fracking industry and tar sands, thousands of workers are losing jobs.
In this situation, BP seems to have thought about it very carefully. BP is not pretending that a return to business-as-usual is possible. The company has decided to make its problems look like a change to a greener future. They can now stop expensive projects and say that is part of a change to low carbon. And it is investing in renewable energy to have a bigger part of the industry that will take its place. But this caring company continues to support repressive governments to protect its interests everywhere from Egypt to Azerbaijan to West Papua.
The oil industry is not going quietly. There are still new projects in the Arctic and the Amazon. BP’s promise not to start any projects ‘in new countries’ still allows it to start new projects in the 79 countries where it already operates. The end of Big Oil is still too slow and we need to campaign more. It is very good news about the end of the oil industry. But we should not say thank you to the big oil companies like BP. They caused the problems. Let’s thank the people who campaigned against oil and the people who started renewable energy. They gave us the chance to beat the big fossil-fuel companies and led the way to a safer, fairer world.
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(This article is in easier English so it is possible that we changed the words, the text structure, and the quotes.)