We all remember BP’s many attempts to look like a green company – for example changing its name from “British Petroleum” to “Beyond Petroleum”, and running numerous greenwash ads like the one to the right. But it looks like BP may finally be officially moving away from its “green” pledge.
The company’s new CEO recently announced that its new first priority will be safety.
As the BBC reports:
Greenpeace said the oil giant had a lot to gain by dropping its promise to be green.
Charlie Kronick, Greenpeace’s senior climate change adviser, suggested that the pledge was the only thing holding it back from making further cuts to its green credentials.
“Now that BP is blissfully released from its pledge to invest in clean energy, it has a carte blanche to sell off its unprofitable green energy arm,” he told the BBC.
“It can get back to doing what it does best: being a 100% fossil fuels train wreck,” Mr Kronick added.
“This is classic smoke and mirrors.”
It’s no surprise really, BP has been investing in dirty tar sands and cutting investments in renewables for a long time. Let’s just hope that with the new CEO comes a new advertising policy, one that doesn’t include spending a fortune on greenwash.
In today’s Guardian, Fred Pearce calls out BP’s “Beyond Petroleum” greenwash.
“BP likes to say that it is investing $1.5bn (£980,000) a year in ‘alternative energy’. True, I am sure. But that word ‘alternative’ is clever. Delve a little further and it turns out that BP’s alternative energy division includes not just wind and solar and biofuels but also natural gas-fired power stations. Natural gas may be less polluting than coal and oil, but at the end of the day it’s a fossil fuel filling the atmosphere with CO2. Alternative? Not by my definition.”
He goes on:
“Also sheltering in the alternative energy division is BP’s ‘emissions assets business’, which makes money out of carbon trading, and a venture capital unit. But even if we lump all this ‘alternative’ activity together, it still only makes up 7% of the company’s planned $21bn (£13.85bn) investment this year. The remaining 93% is oil, spiced up with some coal.”
Read the full article – Greenwash: BP and the myth of a world ‘Beyond Petroleum’
In 2000, BP, the third largest global oil company with exploration and production in 29 countries, decided to adopt a more publicly palatable green image. In re-branding from British Petroleum to Beyond Petroleum, they announced new goals for “Better people, better products, beyond petroleum.” In practice, their paltry investments in renewable energy do little to outweigh the destructive effects of their continued focus on fossil fuels.
Despite BP’s claimed dedication to moving Beyond Petroleum, their recent investments indicate little forward movement toward renewable energy. BP has no immediate plans to reduce oil production in favor of renewable energy. They assure their stockholders that “10 billion barrels a year seems a sustainable rate of exploration discoveries for 15 to 20 years.” That’s a lot of carbon.
Worst of all, BP’s continued focus on fossil fuels is leading them to dirtier and dirtier sources. Most recently, they’ve decided to start extracting oil from the controversial Canadian tar sands. BP had previously written off this source as inefficient and unprofitable. Now that oil prices have skyrocketed, BP can afford to tap this source and are doing so in full force with a joint investment with Husky Energy of 3 billion dollars.
This is some dirty oil. Processing oil from the tar sands, which is heavier and requires more refining than most grades of crude is even more harmful for the environment than conventional refining. BP plans on dumping 50 percent more ammonia and 35 percent more suspended solids into Lake Michigan from its refinery in Whiting, Ind.