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Financial Times: BP is deserving of censure, but not a vendetta

By Sybil Ackerman

Published: September 1 2006 03:00 | Last updated: September 1 2006 03:00

Environmentalists love to hate big oil companies. “I told you so,” we say to ourselves, as we learn about BP’s leaky oil pipes in Alaska. The fiasco in Alaska could spell serious trouble for BP, as the US Congress begins hearings. It is easy to cheer them on and urge them to take drastic actions against this corporate wrong doer. We should move beyond this knee-jerk reaction.

BP has, in fact, been a model of responsible corporate citizenship on environmental matters. In a survey I conducted, BP was the most transparent big oil and gas company on important climate change issues debated in Congress. What is more, BP is practising what it preaches.

It has established an emissions-reduction programme more stringent than that required in the US and many other parts of the world. Of the five oil and gas companies I surveyed, Royal Dutch Shell is the only company similar to BP in this regard. In contrast, Chevron, -ConocoPhillips and Exxon-Mobil are all interested in technological solutions to the greenhouse emissions reduction. But while technological solutions are needed, they are by no means the panacea with which to combat climate change.

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