Europe's Oil Giants Call For Carbon Pricing

British energy giant BP CEO Bob Dudley addresses a keynote speech during the World Gas Conference in Paris on June 2, 2015. A
British energy giant BP CEO Bob Dudley addresses a keynote speech during the World Gas Conference in Paris on June 2, 2015. AFP PHOTO / ERIC PIERMONT (Photo credit should read ERIC PIERMONT/AFP/Getty Images)

The leaders of six of Europe’s largest oil producers are calling for a plan to price planet-warming greenhouse gas emissions, citing climate change as “a critical challenge for our world.”

“As major companies from the oil [and] gas sector, we recognize both the importance of the climate challenge and the importance of energy to human life and well-being,” wrote the chief executive officers of BP, Royal Dutch Shell, Statoil, Total, Eni and the BG Group in a letter to the executive secretary of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change and the president of the upcoming 2015 Paris Climate Conference.

“The challenge is how to meet greater energy demand with less [carbon dioxide],” wrote the CEOs, who collectively represent nearly $1.4 trillion in annual revenue, as Climate Central notes. “We stand ready to play our part.”

The letter focuses on creating a framework for carbon pricing in countries that currently lack one, and then connecting that framework internationally. The letter coincides with the UN climate change talks underway in Bonn, Germany, and cites the companies’ experience working in countries that already have a price on carbon as reason to support an international system.

“For us to do more, we need governments across the world to provide us with clear, stable, long-term, ambitious policy frameworks,” they wrote. “This would reduce uncertainty and help stimulate investments in the right low carbon technologies and the right resources at the right pace.”

The letter does not endorse a specific policy solution, such as a cap-and-trade systems or a carbon tax. But the CEOs do express a desire to have a seat at the table in discussions about on how to address greenhouse gas emissions.

Noticeably absent from the letter were American petroleum giants, such as ExxonMobil and Chevron, though both those companies are already planning internally for a price on carbon emissions.

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