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BP Calls for Meaningful Global Price on Carbon
By Ahnika LeRoy, Contributor

Emissions of greenhouse gases (GHG) are rising. Climate scientists tell us that the 2o Celsius average global warming target limit will soon be surpassed, changing the livability of the planet.

As such, the recent public call from BP—one of the largest fossil fuel extraction companies in the world—for a meaningful global price on carbon is big news!

Carbon Pricing is a method many believe would reduce global warming by charging a fee per ton of CO2 (carbon dioxide) emissions allowed into the atmosphere . If there was a global price on carbon, and if emitters were required to pay to pollute, it would likely incentivize dramatic behavior change and quickly catalyze a shift to a lower-carbon economy—and a truly sustainable future.

Carbon pricing should motivate advancements in energy efficiency and renewable sectors. BP CEO Bob Dudley appears to agree: “History has shown the power of market forces in making economies less energy intensive as people have found more efficient ways to use energy,” he said. “A global carbon price would help to unleash market forces and provide the right incentives for everyone to play their part.”

Key individuals in the academic world have begun supporting the concept of a global price on carbon. According to an article by Carbon-Price.com, Economists Joseph Stiglitz and William Nordhaus have shifted from being advocates of a global carbon tax to advocating a global price on carbon.

Expert economists and scientists are urging swift action from intergovernmental organizations and domestic companies alike to avoid damaging climate change. According to BP’s Energy Outlook 2035 report, global carbon emissions will continue to rise roughly 1 percent each year through 2035 which will quickly move us past the 2o Celcius threshold. A slew of unknowns lie beyond, though the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) predicts that the effects will include more severe droughts, over one foot of sea level rise, changing rainfall patterns, and new agricultural realities.

BP’s call for a global carbon price is only the latest in a series of actions the company has taken to contribute to reducing climate change causing emissions. They illustrated their desire for global carbon pricing when they signed the World Bank Statement for Carbon Pricing. And, according to the Carbon Disclosure Project (CDP), BP is one the 150 global companies that adheres to the internal price of carbon, having set their price internally—for strategic planning purposes—at $40 per ton.

Fortunately, BP is not the only major gas and oil producer that’s supportive of the idea of pricing carbon. Royal Dutch Shell—another one of the world’s largest fossil fuel extraction companies and supporter of the aforementioned World Bank Statement—is in support of a carbon price.

First Affirmative applauds loudly as a truly meaningful price on carbon is coming closer to reality, thanks to the support and actions of major corporations and international governmental organizations.

At First Affirmative, we understand that the ways we save, spend, and invest can dramatically influence both the fabric and consciousness of society. We believe that in addition to the benefits of ownership, investors bear responsibility for the impact our money has in the world. Are you making conscious decisions about the impact of your consumer purchase and investment decisions?

Mention of specific companies or securities should not be considered an endorsement or a recommendation to buy or sell that security. Past performance is no guarantee of future results.

Posted: April 20, 2015