PARIS, France, July 28, 2015 (ENS) – Seeking clarity and stability, six large oil and gas companies based in Europe are calling on all world governments and the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change, UNFCCC, to introduce carbon pricing systems.

The companies include: two British multinational oil and gas companies, BG Group plc and BP plc, the Italian multinational Eni S.p.A., Royal Dutch Shell plc, Norway’s Statoil ASA and France’s Total SA.

The companies say they are requesting “clear, stable, ambitious policy frameworks that could eventually connect national systems.”

BP station

Sign over a BP gas station in the United States (Photo by Mike Mozart)

They say these frameworks “would reduce uncertainty and encourage the most cost effective ways of reducing carbon emissions widely.”

The letter comes in advance of the UNFCCC’s COP21 climate meeting in Paris this November and December. There world governments are expected to agree on a universal, legally-binding treaty that will limit greenhouse gas emissions responsible for Earth’s rising temperature.

The six companies explained their position in a joint letter from their chief executives to the UNFCCC Executive Secretary Christiana Figueres and the President of the COP21, French Foreign Minister Laurent Fabius.

Agreed in June at the World Gas Conference in Paris, the letter was signed by: Helge Lund, BG Group plc; Bob Dudley, BP plc; Claudio Descalzi, Eni S.p.A.; Ben van Beurden, Royal Dutch Shell plc; Eldar Sætre, Statoil ASA; and Patrick Pouyanné, Total S.A.

“We urge governments to take decisive action at the UN climate change summit in December. We are also united in believing such action should recognize the vital roles of natural gas and carbon pricing in helping to meet the world’s demand for energy more sustainably,” the executives write.

“Our request to policy-makers as they prepare for the UN talks is not to ask for special treatment for any resource, including natural gas, or any single route to a lower-carbon future. It is rather to ensure that the outcome of these talks leads to widespread carbon pricing in all countries,” the executives write.

They say carbon pricing policies in every country will stimulate low-carbon technologies and drive energy efficiency as rapid urbanization increases demand from cities.

Carbon pricing will “benefit all sectors” such as power, mobility, heating and energy-intensive industries along with renewable energy and natural gas, the cleanest-burning fossil fuel.

The executives write that they trust market forces to operate in favor of the least expensive and most efficient ways of reducing carbon in each country or region.

“Pricing carbon obviously adds a cost to our production and our products – but a stable, long-term, global carbon pricing framework would provide our businesses and their many stakeholders with a clear roadmap for future investments, and a clear role in securing a more sustainable future,” the executives reason.

With this unprecedented joint initiative, the executives said they “recognize both the importance of the climate challenge and the importance of energy to human life and well-being.”

oil platform

Shell’s Mars B development, the company’s largest, floating deep water platform in the Gulf of Mexico, 2014 (Photo courtesy Royal Dutch Shell)

They acknowledge the current trend of greenhouse gas emissions is in excess of what the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change says is needed to limit global temperature rise to no more than 2 degrees Celsius, and say they are ready to contribute solutions.

“Our industry faces a challenge: we need to meet greater energy demand with less CO2,” the executives write. “We are ready to meet that challenge and we are prepared to play our part.”

“We firmly believe that carbon pricing will discourage high carbon options and reduce uncertainty that will help stimulate investments in the right low carbon technologies and the right resources at the right pace.”

“We now need governments around the world to provide us with this framework and we believe our presence at the table will be helpful in designing an approach that will be both practical and deliverable,” they write.

The six executives recognize the increasing role of renewable energy sources, and their companies have significant investments in renewable energy.

“However,” they write, “the need to cut emissions is so essential that we have to pursue all options to lower carbon while providing the energy the world needs to meet demand from a growing population seeking better living standards.”

“We owe it to future generations to seek realistic, workable solutions to the challenge of providing more energy while tackling climate change,” the executives write. “We urge governments to create the incentives that will encourage all potential contributors to a more sustainable future.”

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