Climate change

BP believes that climate change is an important long-term issue that justifies global action

The science

The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) states that warming of the climate system is unequivocal, and is in large part due to an increase in greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions from human activities. The IPCC believes that warming of the climate will probably lead to extreme weather events becoming more frequent and unpredictable. It makes clear that limiting climate change will require substantial and sustained reductions of GHG emissions. 

The climate challenge

BP’s Energy Outlook projects that global carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions from fossil fuels may be 25% higher in 2035 than they were in 2013, partly as a consequence of coal use in rapidly growing economies. This is a projection of what we think is likely to happen, not what we would like to see.

More ambitious energy policies could lead to slower growth in CO2 emissions but this would probably still not be enough to keep warming to 2°C, the threshold recognized by governments as limiting the worst impacts of climate change.

There are several reasons, in addition to growing energy demand, why achieving substantial and rapid GHG emissions reductions will be challenging. Some potentially important lower-carbon technologies – including nuclear energy, carbon capture and storage, and electric vehicles – still face significant technology, logistical, political, infrastructure or cost challenges. And the cost of renewable technologies has led some governments to reduce their levels of support. In the meantime, the GHG intensity of oil and gas extraction and production looks set to increase, with the move towards harder-to-access resources.

Carbon policy

BP believes that the scale of the climate challenge is such that governments must act by setting a clear, stable and effective carbon policy framework if energy companies are to limit GHGs while providing energy competitively.

In particular, we believe that putting a price on carbon – one that treats all carbon equally, whether it comes out of a smokestack or a car exhaust – will make energy efficiency more attractive and lower-carbon energy sources more competitive.

Within a clear policy framework energy companies have a key role to deploy innovative technological and commercial solutions at scale and BP wants to play its part. As such, we have endorsed the World Bank carbon pricing statement and the Carbon Price Communique. BP is also a member of the Oil and Gas Climate Initiative, an industry-driven platform for sharing best practice and technical solutions to address climate change and sustainable energy.

International climate agreements

BP believes it is for governments to set goals, targets and timetables for limiting GHG emissions and to identify how best to achieve them. We encourage governments to base their discussions on sound science and consideration of all relevant factors, including energy security, affordability and international competitiveness.


The information on this page forms part of the information reviewed and reported on by Ernst & Young as part of BP's 2014 sustainability reporting. View the full assurance statement.

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