Climate change seminar with Lord Browne

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We are pleased to send you a summary of our recent seminar led by Lord Browne of Madingley and moderated by Dr Eamonn Molloy of Pembroke College Oxford. It was sponsored by J. Stern & Co. and continued the series of events within our Thought Leadership & Public Policy programme. We brought together over 90 climate change experts and investment professionals, especially those focused on managing capital within an increasingly stringent ESG framework.

It is over 20 years since Lord Browne took to the podium at Stanford University and called for global oil companies to face the challenge of climate change. In the ensuing ten years as CEO of BP and in his subsequent involvement in the industry he has remained a highly authoritative voice in the climate change debate, seeking radical change at a pace that will not impact global growth significantly. During this period, and even more so today, he uses his knowledge of leading-edge technological advances in engineering to challenge policy-makers and the public to embrace faster and more ambitious change.

Lord Browne called for a two-pronged approach to address climate change and slow the rise in global temperatures. More than half of the necessary progress could be delivered by ‘decarbonising hydrocarbons’ through extracting CO2 from fossil fuel emissions, and by using more CO2 for CO2-derived products including hydrogen, chemicals and building materials. Secondly, he called for faster progress in new sources of energy – in nuclear fission, particularly in small reactors, in solar and wind energy.

Faster progress will require a judicious blend of regulation, tax incentives, compromise and investment. Lord Browne noted the change in public attitudes in many countries and called on policy-makers, leaders in the global industry, investors and Governments to take more determined action. With over 85% of global oil and gas production controlled by Governments, their commitment is critical to the whole process.

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