Until the fossil fuel giants bring an end to their destructive business models by either shifting efforts to renewable energy or shutting up shop, the blame lies solely at their door.
Looking for someone to blame for climate change was “unhelpful”, and users of fossil fuels were part of the problem as well as producers, according to senior executives at BP.
Speaking at the One Young World summit in London this week, the company’s chief executive Bob Dudley said: “We’ve had generations of using energy… so we’re all part of the problem.”
“We [BP] want to be part of leading this transition but we also work in places that have no energy so it's going to take a little longer than people would like.”
BP’s chief economist Spencer Dale added: “I think the concept of looking for somebody to blame is not really the right way of thinking about this. It's unhelpful.”
The provision of energy had done more than any single thing in terms of raising human welfare. Now the type of energy society uses needs to be changed rapidly, so blame was not “the right thing,” he said.
“If you're sat in Europe right now, I can understand why you're worried about carbon emissions. Go to Delhi - in Delhi they really worry about access to energy,” he said. Both of those issues needed to be solved, and that would take many types of energy, he said.
But Areeba Hamid, senior climate campaigner at Greenpeace UK, said that it was a disgrace that BP was trying to deflect the blame onto the public.
BP had spent more than £18 million since 2010 lobbying the EU in attempts to undermine action on the climate emergency, she said, pointing to research on lobbying by oil and gas majors conducted by Greenpeace EU along with Corporate Europe Observatory, Food & Water Europe and Friends of the Earth Europe.
“Until the fossil fuel giants bring an end to their destructive business models by either shifting efforts to renewable energy or shutting up shop, the blame lies solely at their door,” she said.
Catherine Early is a freelance environmental journalist and chief reporter for the Ecologist. She can be found tweeting at @Cat_Early76.