As shareholders gather for BP’s AGM in London this week they deserve to be made aware of just how at-risk their investments are — and what BP thinks about the future of the firm and the planet.
Because the company their investments allow to operate is fourth in a list of the world’s top-emitting companies and was responsible for 2.47% of global emissions from 1751-2010.
The company will be forever linked to the massive spill in the Gulf of Mexico — but its the daily environmental toll that ultimately matters more — the constant minute-by-minute flow of carbon into the atmosphere.
In order to keep its profits coming despite the science BP has worked its way into the highest levels of governments and even gotten inside great cultural institutions like the British Museum and the Tate Britain gallery.
It’s now attempting to slide unchallenged into the magical and dangerous waters of the Great Australian Bight – searching zombie-like for yet more oil.
Ditto Azerbaijan – Angola – the tar sands of Canada and the old hunting grounds of the North Sea – even though scientists are painfully clear about the fact that we can’t burn most of the reserves we already know about.
BP’s actions are weird in that they insist ‘we have publicly acknowledged the risk [of climate change] and have been working to address it since the 1990’s’ and that they are part of the Oil and Gas Climate Initiative (OGCI) which publicly supported a global agreement at the Paris talks.
But when you scratch beneath the surface this is just another carbon major – being fast and loose with the future.