“The challenge of climate change [...] can only be met by each part of society making an appropriate contribution.” - Oil and Gas Climate Initiative

in figures

Climate change is happening:92% agree

Climate change is a serious problem:70% agree

Climate change is caused most by human activity:50% agree

Humans have capacity to reduce climate change:67% agree

Climate a serious issue: industry survey

September 30, 2016

A survey of professionals working in the oil and gas industry has shown that more than half believe that tackling climate change should be a priority for both governments and oil and gas firms.

The WBC Climate Change Survey 2016 found that 54% of respondents saw climate change as a priority for both governments as well as oil and gas companies, with 70% viewing it as a serious issue and 39% saying that companies have a responsibility to protect the planet. Of those that thought it was a high or very high priority for companies, 37% said this due to the oncoming disruptive effect that climate change action will have on energy markets, with 23% citing expected pressure from stakeholders and investors to make it a priority.

Shifting priorities
More than ever, professionals in the industry are in agreement that climate change is occurring. Despite that, this year’s figures reveal a marked drop in those who believe climate change is a priority for governments and hydrocarbons firms, down from 61% to 54%. Many in the industry are still undecided on the causes of climate change, with half of the respondents believing human activities are not the main cause. The survey also showed that attitudes towards climate change differ by region, with respondents in the US less likely to attribute climate change to human activities than those in Europe, Asia, the Middle East and Africa. US respondents were also more likely to be against government intervention.


Look to renewables
Among those polled, the preferred route to tackle climate change is through a reduction in deforestation and coal emissions, as well an increase in nuclear and solar power. In terms of policy tools employed by governments to address climate change, 39% of respondents viewed incentives for the use of renewables as preferable while 27% favoured carbon taxes. The survey showed that more than 40% believe that climate change can be successfully addressed by humans but are unsure whether the necessary steps will be taken. More than a third of respondents were of the view that humans are unable to have any impact on the causes of climate change.

In recent years, some industry actors have taken steps to mitigate climate change. In 2014, the CEOs of 10 major hydrocarbons companies came together to form the Oil and Gas Climate Initiative. “The challenge of climate change […] can only be met by each part of society making an appropriate contribution,” the group said in a joint statement ahead of the COP21 summit. Lord Browne, former CEO of BP, has urged the oil and gas industry to address climate change. “If society is saying it is time to change our energy mix, big players should be involved in the change,” the Financial Times quoted him as saying in June 2016.

The WBC Climate Change Survey is an annual poll of more than 6,000 individuals working in the oil and gas industry conducted by Warren Business Consulting in partnership with The Oil & Gas Year. It was first run in early 2013 and again in 2014 and 2015.

You can read this year’s edition of the full report by clicking here.

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