Alternative Energy

Published on March 29th, 2010 | by Guest Contributor


BP Chief Executive Pushes the U.S. Beyond Coal

BP’s chief executive, Tony Hayward, says that the U.S. needs to think beyond coal and warns against saving coal jobs and sacrificing jobs and growth in cleaner fuels. The New York Times reports that Hayward spoke to the Peterson Institute for International Economics this week, emphasizing that there is no reason to build new coal power plants. BP began a “Beyond Petroleum” campaign in 2000 and has been cultivating both green branding and a greener energy portfolio.

Photo Credit: arbyreed BP's Tony Hayward pushes the U.S. beyond coal

BP's Tony Hayward pushes the U.S. beyond coal

“We’ve got to find a better way to create jobs than preserving coal jobs. The coal sector was disproportionately favored in the first go at [the climate bill]. It’s about creating jobs.” – Tony Hayward, BP Chief Executive

Whether BP’s overall green claims are green-washing or a real green energy revolution remains up for debate, but Hayward’s speech isn’t just a sound bite- they talk the talk on their website as well. On their Energy Mix page, BP writes that “From energy diversity comes energy security.”

So, do they walk the walk? In their self-published Sustainability Review, BP claims to have invested $2.9 billion in renewable energies in 2009. And Hayward’s statement that the U.S. needs to focus on other fuels rather than coal is a bit counter-business-intuitive, seeing that BP’s own World Energy Review says that in 2009 coal was the world’s fastest growing fuel in the world for the sixth consecutive year. Although, BP doesn’t have much of their money in coal.

It’s important to remember that “cleaner fuels” also means natural gas, and that BP is by no means pushing for the U.S. or anyone else to abandon fossil fuels. The crux of their approach is a diverse energy portfolio. This coincides with the feelings of many natural gas executives and lobbyists in Washington who say natural gas emits half the carbon that coal does, and think of natural gas as a cleaner, bridge-fuel from coal to renewable energy.

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