By Ron Bousso
ABERDEEN, Scotland (Reuters) – Climate change protesters disrupted oil and gas group BP’s annual shareholder meeting on Tuesday, shouting “this is a crime scene”, while rival Royal Dutch Shell received some rare praise from shareholders on its climate policies.
Two women protesters inside the BP meeting in Aberdeen, Scotland, were carried out by security staff, while others turned on an alarm during BP Chief Executive Bob Dudley’s speech.
The action came a day after Greenpeace protesters blockaded the entrance to BP’s London headquarters, demanding it end all new oil and gas exploration.
BP, whose carbon emissions rose in 2018 to their highest in six years, including the impact of fuels sold to customers, is facing increasing pressure to cut pollution and meet the 2015 Paris climate agreement. It has not followed stricter rules that rival Royal Dutch Shell has imposed on itself.
Several dozen people gathered outside BP’s annual general meeting (AGM) holding placards reading “BP climate criminals” and “climate emergency.” Around 20 environmental activists also gathered outside Shell’s AGM in The Hague.
BP Chairman Helge Lund said the company would move towards a transition to cleaner energy, while remaining an attractive investment proposition.
“The world needs more energy but it needs energy that is cleaner, better and kinder to the planet,” Lund said.
Meanwhile, Royal Dutch Shell was commended by some of its shareholders for setting sector-leading climate policies last year.
They include reducing so-called Scope 3 emissions from fuels sold to customers around the world in addition to emissions from the company’s own operations.
For a graphic on BP first-quarter 2019 cashflow, see – https://tmsnrt.rs/2XVocG1
Adam Matthews, director of ethics and engagement for the Church of England Pensions Board who has represented shareholders in climate talks with Shell, said the group’s strategy was an example to other energy companies.
“(I) suggest that a joint message is sent from this AGM to others within the (oil and gas) sector and to investors that have yet to embrace an approach that addresses the vast majority of the impact on society and the climate by the setting of targets covering scope 3 emissions,” Matthews said.
Shareholders pressed BP to lay out plans to reduce emissions, including those from fuels and products sold which are several times larger than emissions from BP’s own operations.
For a graphic on BP’s CO2 emissions, see – https://tmsnrt.rs/2LHblpG
“We need to be much more ambitious, not less, in how we tackle the biggest contributor to the emissions our company makes,” Tracy Rembert, director of Catholic Responsible Investing (CBIS), told the AGM.
Lund said BP could not set targets for emissions that were not under its control. Dudley has repeatedly opposed setting Scope 3 reduction targets for that reason.
The founder of shareholder activist group Follow This, Mark van Baal, told the AGM that setting targets without including Scope 3 emissions was like saying “we smoke less but sell more cigarettes”.
However, a resolution filed by Follow This won just 8.35% of votes at the meeting, while one backed by the board that called on BP to meet the requirements of the 2015 Paris climate agreement won 99.14% support.
BP has said it aims to keep emissions from its operations flat in the decade to 2025, despite strong growth in its business that has been recovering from $67 billion (53 billion pounds) in fines and clean-up costs after a huge Gulf of Mexico oil spill in 2010.
It also invests about $500 million a year on low carbon energy and technologies such as wind and solar.
(Additional reporting by Toby Sterling in The Hague and writing by Shadia Nasralla in London, Editing by Jane Merriman and Mark Potter)