BP Contradicts Bush on Climate Change
One global energy company's success in reducing greenhouse gas
emissions could soon debunk President Bush's argument that
mandatory reductions would hurt American business. Writing in
TomPaine.com, Seth Dunn looks at the energy company
British Petroleum, whose ambition in cutting pollution proved to be
as beneficial to the bottom line as to the environment.
BP's chief executive, John Browne, announced five years ago the company's plan to reduce greenhouse gas emissions to levels below those of 1990 by 2010. Speaking at Stanford Business School on March 11, Browne declared that BP had realized that goal, with no additional costs to the company, and well ahead of that deadline.
Part of the success lay in small steps such as plugging gas pipeline leaks and using cleaner products such as low-sulfur transport fuels and natural gas, a tactic the company applied consistently to all of BP's plants worldwide.
In addition, Dunn reports that 'savings from improved energy efficiency outweighed expenditures. A refinery in Texas saved $5 million and 300,000 tons of carbon dioxide equivalent. A chemicals plant in Korea cut costs by $4.5 million and CO2 emissions by 49,000 tons.'
However, Browne says that 'we need the help of governments to establish the appropriate framework of incentives to move toward climate stabilization.' Dunn says that the Bush administration should reconsider the Kyoto treaty as such a guideline.
In addition, says Dunn, companies' promptness in making their own plans to clean up their practices helps: 'BP's efforts also suggest that 'early movers' advance quite quickly along the learning curve of simultaneously cutting emissions and saving money.'