Last month British newspaper The Guardian started a greenwashing column to turn the spotlight on the dubious claims of environmental benefits that some companies put forth. In the latest of these columns, Fred Pearce takes on BP, showing how that company hasn’t really gotten ‘beyond petroleum’ at all.
Check it out, as similar claims can be made about pretty much every fossil fuel company: Despite any efforts they’ve made in investing in renewable energy or cleaning up their act, the bulk of what they do is as dirty as ever. Here’s part of what Pearce says about BP:
BP’s Definition of Alternative Energy Includes Plenty of Conventional Energy
Let's get real. BP likes to say that it is investing $1.5bn (£980,000) a year in "alternative energy". True, I am sure. But that word "alternative" is clever. Delve a little further and it turns out that BP's alternative energy division includes not just wind and solar and biofuels but also natural gas-fired power stations. Natural gas may be less polluting than coal and oil, but at the end of the day it's a fossil fuel filling the atmosphere with CO2. Alternative? Not by my definition.
Also sheltering in the alternative energy division is BP's "emissions assets business", which makes money out of carbon trading, and a venture capital unit. But even if we lump all this "alternative" activity together, it still only makes up 7% of the company's planned $21bn (£13.85bn) investment this year. The remaining 93% is oil, spiced up with some coal.