In line with the many other corporations in the United Kingdom and Europe, BP Plc has also set out to make itself carbon Neutral by 2020. The new CEO of the company Bernard Looney while announcing the initiative revealed that over a period of time, his company would invest more in low carbon businesses and lower its exposure to oil and gas businesses. BP. at this time emits nearly 400 million tons of carbon dioxide per year from mostly from its Oil and Gas business verticals. The announcement is the latest among a series of measures announced by the company in the recent past, to do more for the protection, preservation and promotion of the environment.
The European Union in the recent past has taken several measures to reduce carbon emissions. Right from requiring automobile manufacturers to roll out low emission vehicles to asking airline companies to reduce their carbon footprint, the Union is taking all possible measures to ensure that the European continent significantly lowers its carbon footprint in the next 20 to 25 years. These measures, often in the shape of regulations, provides both funding and imposes punitive penalties towards the furtherance of this cause. Carbon footprint is defined as all human activities that culminate in the release of carbon dioxide and other related gases into the environment. The term includes any and all human activity that directly and indirectly contributes to the creation of these carbon emissions. Though some carbon emission can be traced to any and all human activity including that of breathing, emissions of carbon dioxide and such other polluting gases become a critical environmental factor when it goes beyond the ability of nature to process it within its natural carbon cycle. For the purpose of ecological degradation, however, we only consider those emissions which are non-naturally occurring and caused by industrial activity of humans. This gas is released naturally by bacteria that feed on dead plants, animals and other form of decaying substances and could range from restaurant waste, slaughterhouse waste, dairy plant waste to fruits falling from trees and vegetable and leaves. There are also several natural processes which are large emitters of greenhouse gases like bio-methane. Swamps around the world are one of the largest emitters of non-manmade bio-methane. Paddy cultivation is a significant emitter of humanmade bio-methane. Both of these are characterised by stale water standing in the crop fields and wastelands allowing for large scale emission of this gas. Municipal waste in an urban city like environment is a significant emitter of this gas, unless the waste is treated in bio-digesters and the gas is isolated to be burnt to be put to gainful use before the residual waste is released into the environment.
As part of its initiative to lower the company’s carbon footprint, CEO Bernard Looney also talks about the company’s intention to invest in low carbon and renewable energy businesses. Renewable energy technologies and energy efficiency technologies have been getting an enhanced impetus during the past few years. Motivated by the objective to improve and upgrade the way we do things and bring about an efficiency shift into our current state of technological evolution, a push in this regard is coming from both the government as well as the corporate sectors. Underpinning on this newfound love for this sector and the amount of funding coming in, a lot of green shoots have come up in the renewable energy sector with ill-conceived and half-baked ideas having little or no future at all. Yet, there are still many who have the potential to bring disruptive changes in the way energy is used and stored and bring about a strategic shift to the world energy landscape. Such technologies need to be developed and nurtured so that they may achieve their intended objectives of transforming the environment. The need to promote these new green energy initiatives is critical because it allows the human race to stay within natures cycles and fulfil all its energy needs.
In this regard, there are three crucial factors that need to be addressed urgently as we progress towards the new age of human evolution. First is the nonrenewable nature of our current significant energy resources that fulfil most of our energy needs today, coal and crude oil. There are several estimates made by bodies who are authorities in this regard, who claim that the total discovered reserves of these commodities in the world will run out within several decades if we continue with the current level of consumption. Second, the ever-increasing demand of these resources, as their supplies continue to shrink ensure that their prices continue to move in the northward direction. Energy resources command the largest share of allocation in any country’s budgets nowadays and the proportion keeps on increasing. Third and most importantly, these emissions are making the earth’s atmosphere uninhabitable by making the air unbreathable and temperatures rising further. As its stands today, the human race is very close to reaching a critical state where it will become unsustainable for us to continue with our evolutionary cycle without significantly advancing our state of technology and bringing about large scale efficiencies in the way we do things.
BP’s other two initiatives in this regard before the announcement of Bernard Looney were the company’s Launchpad where it had committed $1 billion with which it would select promote and nurture five most promising companies in the renewable energy and energy efficiency arena and bring them up to where they are $1billion turnover companies. The second is the company’s venture capital initiative running parallel to the Launchpad initiative that provides seed funding to budding renewable energy companies to expand their ideas to successful businesses.
- BP. is not the only company that has announced such an initiative. A few days back Supermarket chain J Sainsbury PLC had also pledged £1 billion to make the company carbon neutral by the year 2040. The company which currently has a minuscule 1 million tonne carbon emissions per year compared to BP’s 400 million ton has been working since many years to lower its carbon footprint with its current footprint being 35 per cent lower than what it was fifteen years ago.