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February 21, 2020

Shell refuses net-zero “arms race” with BP

A senior executive at British-Dutch oil and gas giant Royal Dutch Shell (Shell) has said it will not “get into an arms race” with BP’s net-zero target.

By Matt Farmer

A senior executive at British-Dutch oil and gas giant Royal Dutch Shell (Shell) has said it will not “get into an arms race” with BP’s net-zero target.

The Times reported comments by the head of Shell’s head of gas and power divisions, Maarten Wetselaar. He defended Shell’s climate commitments, saying the company set short-term, achievable targets which BP has not yet done.

Wetselaar acknowledged BP had made a wider variety of announcements but said the company was not sure how BP had made the calculations behind its plan for net-zero emissions.

He said: “Once we understand them we will think about them but at the moment I don’t think we need to get into an arms race of CO2 targets — it’s much more important we execute our strategy to bring down our net carbon footprint.”

Responding, a BP spokesperson told Offshore Technology: “We were clear that this is our long-term ambition and that we will give more detail on our near-term plans and strategy in September.”

In 2017, Shell pledged to cut carbon intensity to 50% by 2050. Last week, BP pledged to reduce net greenhouse gas emissions for all of its products to net zero in the same time period.

UK-headquartered BP has faced criticism from other companies such as mining giant Glencore.

On Wednesday, Glencore predicted a carbon emissions decrease of 30% by 2035 as a side effect of depleting coal resources. The company did not set itself reduction targets.

The Financial Times reported CEO Ivan Glasenberg as saying: “2050 is a long way to go and we don’t want to come out with wishy-washy ideas.”

Glasenberg said Glencore preferred to be specific about what it announced.

Shell has not commented.

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