BP and Aberdeen City Council sign deal to cut climate emissions
Oil firm BP has signed a deal with council leaders in Aberdeen as part of efforts to cut emissions and help it become a “climate-positive city”.
Aberdeen is only the second city in the world after Houston in the US to join forces with the energy company in such an arrangement.
As part of the deal, BP will serve as a planning and technical adviser in the delivery of the local authority’s Energy Transition Strategic Infrastructure Plan.
The company and the local authority will also explore opportunities for using hydrogen power for transport and heating, while work will take place to increase the fuel efficiency of the council’s fleets of vehicles.
Partnering with countries, cities and industries to help them reduce emissions on the path to net-zero is part of BP’s new strategy, introduced last month.
William Lin, BP executive vice-president for regions, cities and solutions, said: “Over the next decade we expect to partner with 10 to 15 cities globally to provide innovative, integrated and decarbonised energy solutions at scale to help achieve their goals of net zero emissions.
“We are privileged to be the partner for city of Aberdeen on its journey to achieving its carbon reduction ambition.”
He added: “Aberdeen is a leading energy city in the UK and the world, with whom we share a long history.
“We are committed to bringing our capabilities in integrating and developing energy systems coupled with the city’s local expertise, knowledge and insights to make a sustainable impact for the citizens of Aberdeen and the surrounding region.”
Aberdeen City Council co-leader Jenny Laing said the local authority is “delighted” to be working with BP on “the next phase of Aberdeen’s drive to support local, national and international climate change targets”.
She said: “The council and BP have the same goals in reducing our carbon footprint and working with BP provides a major opportunity for Aberdeen to progress our plans.
“Our operations include areas such as transport, district heating, buildings and waste, while BP is a world leader in energy and has a significant innovation and R&D base for us to draw on and learn from.”
Fellow council co-leader Douglas Lumsden said: “We are facing unprecedented economic challenges and, at the same time, must respond to climate change.
“We are implementing a major transformation programme in response to this and today’s announcement is an indication of the confidence in Aberdeen that major businesses have.
“The relationship will consolidate the city’s position on the international stage.
“It aligns to the work of the World Energy Cities Partnership and it is a reflection of Aberdeen’s global reputation that along with Houston we are the first two cities that BP is working with as part of its commitment to support decarbonisation in cities.”
But Mel Evans, senior climate campaigner for Greenpeace UK, said: “Aberdeen is the heart of the UK’s oil and gas industry and a complete shift to clean energy is what’s needed across the UK to tackle the climate emergency.
“This must go beyond the way that the city of Aberdeen uses energy.
“We need to see BP actually building renewable energy – especially new offshore wind capacity in the North Sea, not just buying up existing wind infrastructure from another company to rebalance BP’s own portfolio.
“Oil and gas workers and communities must be listened to and supported into secure and sustainable jobs in clean energy.”
Scottish Greens environment spokesman Mark Ruskell MSP said: “It’s concerning that a corporation that has made such a massive contribution to causing the climate emergency should be put in charge of tackling it.
“The people of Aberdeen deserve to see bold climate action to support jobs as we transition from the oil economy to a renewables future; this won’t be achieved by cosying up to BP.”
He added: “There are concerns that a new dash for hydrogen is just a ploy to extend the life of North Sea gas when we need to see a genuine renewables-led economic recovery.
“Sadly this seems to be nothing more than a greenwashing exercise for the oil giant, and it’s disappointing that the council are playing along.”
WWF Scotland’s head of policy Fabrice Leveque said: “Given the role BP has played in driving global climate chaos over the years, it’s only right that it now takes action to help places like Aberdeen transition rapidly to a future that is no longer reliant on fossil fuels.
“However, just like BP’s own recent commitments to cut oil and gas production, the proof will be what gets delivered on the ground though this partnership.”