The target set this week by British oil giant BP to eliminate or offset all its planet-warming emissions by 2050 is another encouraging step toward a safer, healthier world.
BP said it intended to reduce emissions from its operations and from activities associated with the oil and gas it pumps from the ground. In that sense, BP has gone farther than other major oil companies in confronting the impact of climate change that stem from its core business.
Of course, there’s reason for skepticism. BP’s move comes in the face of pressure from shareholders and the public to confront global warming, and it was announced on the eve of the 10th anniversary of the BP oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico, the largest in U.S. history. The company also didn’t say how it would achieve the reductions, whether by pumping less oil and gas, developing cleaner fuels or mitigating its emissions. And who can wait until 2050?
Still, this is a major pledge by a global behemoth that should move the industry in a better direction. BP’s global standing, technical expertise and self-interest in charting a more sustainable future should further the emissions-cutting campaign across the board. Through its reach in marketing, investment and government relations, the company has the power to move public opinion, research and energy policy in constructive ways.
The splash announcement brings high expectations. Now consumers can watch - and judge.
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