companies view the climate change issue as a threat to their existence and economic health; others see potential opportunities. All are concerned that mitigation will raise the cost of the goods and services they provide to the public, with negative consequences for all.
The prospect of global climate change is a genuine concern for the public and one that BP shares. The amount of CO2 in the atmosphere is increasing and the temperature of the earth's surface is rising. Although there is uncertainty about the magnitude and consequences of these developments, the balance of informed opinion is that humans are having a discernible effect on the climate, and scientists believe that there is a link between the amount of CO2 in the atmosphere and increased temperature. Faced with this uncertainty, BP believes that adopting a precautionary approach to climate change is the only sensible way forward in these circumstances. BP proposes to make real, sustainable, and measurable changes in its business practices. This is why BP has set for itself a voluntary goal to reduce its direct, equity share emissions of greenhouse gases by 10% from a 1990 baseline by 2010.
BP is active in a broad range of climate change issues in both the policy and the scientific arenas.1 BP engineers and scientists study the effects our businesses have on greenhouse gases, water management, and biodiversity. We sponsor internal and external research that adds to both our understanding of business opportunities and our scientific understanding of environmental issues. BP Solar is the largest manufacturer and marketer of photovoltaic devices for producing electricity from solar radiation.2 BP Energy provides energy management services to diverse businesses worldwide. BP recently sponsored the Hydrogen Interactive—First Contact as a way to introduce our interest in hydrogen as a fuel source and provide a forum for discussion and debate about the hydrogen economy.3 BP's refining and marketing arm is developing clean fuel technology and innovative marketing concepts that introduce and showcase technologies to the consumer.4 We have worked with Environmental Defense to develop an emission-trading methodology and market within the group as a learning and implementation tool.5 This list of actions and activities is not exhaustive but gives a flavor of the voluntary actions that BP is using to support our group's commitment to its environmental responsibilities.
BP's reduction goals are even more aggressive when projected business growth is considered. The targeted 10% reduction below our 1990 baseline translates into a real reduction of more than 30% in projected 2010 CO2 emissions. It is even more daunting when one considers that there are no economic incentives outside our internal goals. Many of our business activities involve partnerships with other companies that do not share our specific goals. Many of our partners are working through the process to develop targets that make sense for their companies, and we are gratified by the positive reception that our goals have received. Our discussions suggest that many companies are going through the same evaluative process that BP began in the 1990s.
In Chapter 1, Jae Edmonds presents predictions of climate change over the next several centuries.6 This chapter discusses the approach that BP has taken to address the growing worldwide concern about carbon management or CO2 mitigation.
CO2 mitigation as a way to reduce man's impact on the environment is in its earliest stages of development. Economic incentives to mitigate CO2 are rare and must be developed. These incentives can come through revenue streams from useful products, savings from the CO2 mitigation activity, taxation, or government-sponsored emission-trading programs.
Companies cannot remain viable if they disadvantage themselves economically with respect to their competitors. Present CO2 management projects concentrate on emission reductions from current operations through energy efficiency improvements, operating practice changes, or process changes. These