BP steps up green campaign with fresh emissions target

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The Independent Online

Lord Browne, the chief executive of BP, will tomorrow commit the oil giant to even stricter environmental controls as he tries to present Britain's largest company as a green campaigner.

Five years ago, in a speech at Stanford University in California, Lord Browne shocked investors and pleased environmentalists by committing BP to a target of cutting 10 per cent of its emissions by 2010.

Tomorrow he will return to the campus to give an update on BP's progress, saying it is on target, and will be toughening the stance. Lord Browne will say the target stands, despite BP's size increasing with the purchase of Atlantic Richfield, and despite having higher output than in 1997. Effectively, BP will cut its emissions by up to 20 per cent.

The chief executive's stance will put pressure on the Bush administration to place tighter controls on its oil companies and could have a bearing on whether there should be increased oil production from Alaska, where BP is a major player.

BP has yet to say whether it backs calls by environmentalists such as Greenpeace to limit Alaskan drilling. Rivals says if BP opposes expansion, it will be acting in self-interest, because an expansion would favour rivals such as Exxon Mobil.

Last month BP took the unusual step of saying it would stop all political donations in the US. Last year it gave $198,100 (£137,000) to political parties and candidates in the US, 88 per cent of which went to Republicans.