L. Hunter Lovins
As Pope Francis visits the US, and the UN Summit on Sustainable Development and Climate Week kick off in New York City this week, government leaders, businesses, activists and global citizens will be discussing new ideas to avoid the worst impacts of climate change. Here’s one: take up the European oil industry on their surprising, and so far largely ignored, offer to pay for the carbon their products create.
In June, six large European oil companies – BP, Shell, Statoil, Total, BG and Eni –called for an international price on carbon. Citing a desire to reduce business uncertainty, the companies asked world governments, and December’s UN Conference on Climate Change in Paris, for country-by-country carbon prices and a framework to link them into a global system.
Whatever the motives of the oil companies, when such big polluters are willing to put a price on their emissions – a practice that could cost them significantly more to do business – it’s a big deal.
The fact that some oil companies are taking this stance could prevent companies opposing a price on carbon from claiming to represent the entire industry.