A BP state is pictured in London on May 19, 2022.
(Photo: Mike Kemp/In Pictures via Getty Images).
“This is how much greenwashing fossil fuel corporations care about the climate emergency,” said climate scientist Bill McGuire. “They really don’t give a sh*t.”
BP has worked hard—and spent big—to craft a public image as a forward-looking, environment-conscious oil and gas company that’s committed to a sustainable future.
But its actions tell an entirely different story.
The Guardianreported Tuesday that the London-based fossil fuel giant has earmarked up to $7.5 billion for oil and gas projects for the coming year compared to $3-$5 billion set aside for so-called “low carbon” initiatives. BP has previously touted its “clean energy” investments as evidence that it is helping to lead the global transition to renewables.
“Where you spend your money says a lot about your priorities,” Mike Childs, the head of policy at Friends of the Earth, told The Guardian. “It’s astounding that in the middle of a climate emergency, BP is planning to invest billions more dollars on planet-warming fossil fuels than on clean, green renewables.”
Criticism of BP’s spending plans comes after the company had a banner year of profits, bolstered by global energy market chaos amid Russia’s war on Ukraine.
BP reported $8.2 billion in profits in the third quarter of this year, doubling its total from the same time in 2021.
According to the advocacy group Global Witness, BP’s 2022 profits could cover the energy bills of 9.4 million British households struggling to make ends meet as the United Kingdom faces a disastrous cost-of-living crisis.
Adrian Ramsay, co-leader of the Green Party of England, told The Guardian that “time and again these corporations have shown us that they are not willing to change their actions in line with what the science demands, so it is vital that governments step up and do what is necessary to give us the best possible chance of protecting the environment for ourselves and future generations.”
Climate scientist Bill McGuire added on Twitter that “this is how much greenwashing fossil fuel corporations care about the climate emergency.”
“They really don’t give a sh*t,” he wrote.
Earlier this month, Democratic lawmakers on the House Oversight Committee released documents that offered a glimpse inside BP’s efforts to present itself as a more climate-friendly oil company while continuing to invest in planet-warming fossil fuel development.
In one internal email published by the committee, a BP executive declares that the company has “no obligation to minimize [greenhouse gas] emissions” and that it should only try to reduce its pollution “where it makes commercial sense.”
BP is hardly the only oil giant investing heavily in fossil fuel projects even as scientists say rich countries must end oil and gas production completely over the next decade for the world to have a chance of meeting key warming targets.
A recent analysis led by the German nonprofit group Urgewald found that “512 oil and gas companies are taking active steps to bring 230 billion barrels of oil equivalent of untapped resources into production before 2030.”