BP lobbies to ease EU net-zero emissions target

Photo: EPA

British Petroleum lobbies for softer EU stance on carbon emissions as the company requested natural gas to be excluded from the list of greenhouse factors, Reuters reported. The BP position has earned some support from investors and calls for a wider European dispute about the role of the fossil fuel in the transition to a lower-carbon world. The European Commission has placed a target to achieve net-zero greenhouse gas emissions by 2050.

That includes closing down gas-fuelled power plants and dropping them from a new list of investments that can be marketed as sustainable.

However a final dexcision earmarked for last month was delayed due to complaints from some countries and companies. BP was among those lobbying against the plan. In a December 2020 response to the Commission's public consultation on the issue, it said the new rules could threaten financing of gas projects, and obstruct a shift away from more polluting coal. BP called for an increase in the emission limits that gas plants would have to meet to allow them to be labelled green without requiring the immediate installation of carbon capture and storage (CCS) technology, which is still deemed too expensive for wide-scale use. Natural gas emits roughly half the CO2 emissions of coal when burned in power plants. But gas infrastructure is also associated with emissions of the greenhouse gas methane. When asked about its lobbying, BP said it strongly supported the EU's climate goals. It added that natural gas was enabling the transition from coal.

The European Commission had originally said gas plants must emit below 100g of carbon dioxide equivalent per kilowatt hour (CO2e/kWh) to be labelled green - a level even the use of CCS would make it tough to achieve, according to BP. At least nine EU countries, including Poland, Hungary and the Czech Republic, lobbied the Commission to label gas plants as sustainable. Other governments including Denmark, Spain and Ireland urged Brussels to exclude the fuel.

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