4 June 2015, RTCC, Oil giants support for UN climate pact signals change in strategy. Top hydrocarbon producers seem to accept a global deal will be done in Paris – the question is can they limit its damage? It’s unprecedented for the UN’s climate chief to receive a letter from six oil companies offering help. More likely Sepp Blatter resigning in the wake of FIFA’s corruption scandal, Tony Blair making a speech at a hunger summit for free. But that’s what happened on Friday when the heads of BP, Shell, BG Group, Statoil, Eni and Total wrote to Christiana Figueres. “Climate change is a critical challenge for our world,” they said. “We stand ready to play our part.” The chief executives emphasised the importance of a global price on carbon, and their willingness to work with the UN to make this happen….
But why now, and why this letter? Tom Burke, advisor to BP from 1999-2001 and chair of environmental think tank E3G is in no doubt. It’s fear. “They are getting worried. They are beginning to think governments will bend to respond on pressure on climate change more than they thought they would,” he says.“They assumed governments would not do enough to stay below 2C [a temperature level the UN agreed to avoid in 2010]. It’s unprecedented and a sign they are nervous.” The letter is a sign, argues Burke that work exposing the risk of “stranded assets” as a result of climate policies that make fossil fuels unusable is starting to hit home. Read more here