Oil Producers Have Finally Found a Way to Appear Environmentally Friendly — and It Doesn’t Cost Them a Thing
At its annual general meeting in Aberdeen, Scotland, this week, just over 99% of BP PLC (NYSE: BP) shareholders approved a binding resolution proposed by investor group Climate Action 100+ that requires the company to develop a strategy that is consistent with the goals of the Paris Agreement on climate change. The 58 investor groups that proposed the resolution represent nearly 10% of BP’s voting shares.
Shareholders rejected a stricter resolution proposed by an activist group called Follow This that would have required BP to “accept responsibility” for the emissions from the use of its products. Royal Dutch Shell is the only supermajor oil company that has accepted that responsibility (known as Scope 3). A similar resolution is being voted on at Chevron’s annual meeting scheduled for next week. Earlier this month, Norway’s state-controlled oil company, Equinor, approved the Climate 100+ shareholder resolution but also failed to approve the Follow This resolution.
City of Medicine Hat utility officials say they are in a holding pattern until the political fight over carbon pricing is resolved by other levels of government, but tell the News the municipal power plant may not be affected or come out ahead in the end.
Factors causing the confusion are several and complex: Alberta is set to scrap its carbon levy system, Ottawa is promising to impose a different national standard, court challenges are ongoing and a federal election looms in the fall.
Working in the Medicine Hat power plant’s favour however, is that it burns exclusively natural gas, not coal, which is harder hit by any measure of carbon pricing.
“We’re trying to get a sense of the various scenarios, but we feel that we’re reasonably well positioned because we’re a gas fleet,” said Rochelle Pancoast, head of the city’s utility business support office.
“There’s a lot of uncertainty on the policy side … from our perspective it could be good news or bad news.”