Six major energy companies have written to the United Nations asking for help in setting up a carbon pricing scheme to help tackle climate change.
BP, Royal Dutch Shell, Total, Statoil, Eni and the BG Group asked Christiana Figueres, executive secretary of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change, to help them hold “direct dialogue with the UN and willing governments” about developing a scheme to charge those who produce carbon emissions.
“We have important areas of interest in and contributions to make to creating and implementing a workable approach to carbon pricing,” they said.
The companies’ chief executives revealed the move in a letter to the Financial Times, which said: “We owe it to future generations to seek realistic, workable solutions to the challenge of providing more energy while tackling climate change.”
A carbon pricing scheme would involve a fee being charged to emit the greenhouse gas and the proceeds would probably go to companies that reduce them, such as renewable energy firms.
1/7 Coastal systems and low-lying areas
Flood damaged streets in Queens, New York where the historic boardwalk was washed away due to Hurricane Sandy in 2012. The report predicts that by the end of the century “hundreds of millions of people will be affected by coastal flooding and displaced due to land loss”
2/7 Food security
Widespread drought devastated a corn crop on a farm near Bruceville, Indiana in 2012. The report forecasts that climate change will reduce median yields by up to 2 per cent per decade for the rest of the century
3/7 The global economy
The Evening Standard headline board showing the words 'Black Friday Shares Crash' in London in October 2008 in London. The report warns a global mean temperature increase of 2.5C above pre-industrial levels may lead to global aggregate economic losses of between 0.2 and 2.0 per cent
4/7 Human health
A child suffering from malnutrition and diarrhoea is seen at the Banadir hospital in the Somalian capital of Mogadishu in 2009. Climate change will lead to increases in ill-health in many regions, with examples including an increased likelihood of under-nutrition.
5/7 Human security
A Muslim migrant holds his son as they are detained at the Immigration Police Office on the Thai-Malaysian border in March 2014. The report states that climate change over the 21st century will have a significant impact on forms of migration that compromise human security
6/7 Freshwater resources
A villager walks through a parched paddy in Tianlin county, China in 2012. The report finds that climate change will “reduce renewable surface water and groundwater resources significantly in most dry subtropical regions"
7/7 Unique landscapes
Machair, a grassy coastal habitat found only in north-west Scotland and the west coast of Ireland, is one of the several elements of the UK’s “cultural heritage” that is at risk from climate change
It would cost the six energy firms money, but the chief executives hope to create a level playing field in the market.
In October Georg Kell, executive director of UN Global Compact, told The Independent on Sunday that the private sector was coming round to the idea of carbon pricing, saying “polluters are making the case to be charged”.
“Not pricing pollution and carbon emissions is the biggest market distortion in human history,” he said.
The EU currently runs the world’s biggest carbon-trading scheme, which means there are limits on about 45 per cent of total emissions from the 28 member states, plus Iceland, Liechtenstein and Norway. More than 11,000 power stations and manufacturing plants and most flights are covered. However, the system has been criticised for failing to produce significant results, partly because the price set for emitting a ton of carbon was too low.
The move by the six energy firms comes ahead of a major global summit on climate change in Paris in November and December, when most of the world’s countries are expected to sign up to a new agreement on how to deal with the problem.
This could include setting a date by which the use of fossil fuels will stop.
Two major US energy firms, ExxonMobil and Chevron, have already ruled out joining the European energy firms to come up with a joint global warming strategy, the FT reported.
Rex Tillerson, Exxon’s chairman, told shareholders: “We’re not going to be disingenuous about it. We’re not going to fake it. We’re going to express solutions and policy ideas that we think have merit.”Reuse content