Campaign group Culture Unstained has obtained emails highlighting how the UK government has been cosying up to oil giant BP. There is a worry that the UK government is prioritising corporate interests over the public interest. And BP’s track record on climate change really brings this issue into focus.
The UK government’s relationship with BP
The emails show how ministers regularly attend meetings with BP. In a handwritten invitation, BP chief executive Bob Dudley said to Greg Clark, secretary of state for business, energy and industrial strategy (BEIS):
Dear Greg, this is a very important meeting for us this year and it would be very much appreciated if you could join us this year.
Clark didn’t make it, although climate minister Claire Perry was “delighted” to go instead.
These meetings are the result of a “strategic relations” programme or ‘buddy’ scheme that the government introduced [paywall] in 2011. The scheme helps big companies forge closer ties with ministers in key positions of power. In 2013, Greenpeace told the Guardian that the growing list of companies in the scheme could skew policy “towards narrow corporate interests rather than the wider public good”.
Dudley previously said that Cambridge University should “come to its senses” and not drop its investment in fossil fuels.
The problem with BP
Tom Burke, the chairman of climate change think tank E3G, said BP’s low-carbon strategy “is a 20th century response to a 21st century problem”. This is because the corporation’s strategy doesn’t include a target for reducing the burning of oil and gas – which is how BP contributes to climate change the most. BP has plans to reduce its operational emissions; but as Luke Sussams of Carbon Tracker told the Guardian, these:
while welcome, are too small to move the needle to prevent runaway climate change or reduce BP’s exposure to carbon risk.
The corporation’s strong ties with the government concern all of us and will affect our future in dramatic ways. So we have a right to know exactly what this relationship is like.
– Read more articles from The Canary on Environment.
– Join us, so we can keep holding the powerful to account.
We need your help to keep speaking the truth
Every story that you have come to us with; each injustice you have asked us to investigate; every campaign we have fought; each of your unheard voices we amplified; we do this for you. We are making a difference on your behalf.
Our fight is your fight. You’ve supported our collective struggle every time you gave us a like; and every time you shared our work across social media. Now we need you to support us with a monthly donation.
We have published nearly 2,000 articles and over 50 films in 2021. And we want to do this and more in 2022 but we don’t have enough money to go on at this pace. So, if you value our work and want us to continue then please join us and be part of The Canary family.
In return, you get:
* Advert free reading experience
* Quarterly group video call with the Editor-in-Chief
* Behind the scenes monthly e-newsletter
* 20% discount in our shop
Almost all of our spending goes to the people who make The Canary’s content. So your contribution directly supports our writers and enables us to continue to do what we do: speaking truth, powered by you. We have weathered many attempts to shut us down and silence our vital opposition to an increasingly fascist government and right-wing mainstream media.
With your help we can continue:
* Holding political and state power to account
* Advocating for the people the system marginalises
* Being a media outlet that upholds the highest standards
* Campaigning on the issues others won’t
* Putting your lives central to everything we do
We are a drop of truth in an ocean of deceit. But we can’t do this without your support. So please, can you help us continue the fight?