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Economic transitions are inevitable, but the degree of pain they inflict is not. In the end, preparation gives us agency. It is our duty to use it.

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Hello everyone—it’s great to join you and sorry not to be there

with you all in Munich. I’ve heard so much about One

Young World from the amazing bp delegates who have been coming for many many years. And, I actually met this year’s bp team yesterday. I’ve heard about the energy you all gener- ate in the room and I really wanted to experience it myself.

But as you know, travel is still diffi- cult this year. I’m going to have to wait until next year in Tokyo. And for now, I want to say a big thank you for includ- ing me this year. I and bp do not take your welcome for granted.

I’m very aware that many

people—maybe some of you—think that if energy companies like the one I lead went away, then so would climate change.

And I understand why people think that way. I do get it. But I want to tell you—and I believe this with all my heart—I believe that bp is an impor- tant part of the solution—bp and com- panies like us that are able to use our scale and capabilities to make change happen. I want to share with you why I believe that—so thank you for your time and the opportunity.

Let me start by saying that the envi- ronment and sustainability and climate change—these were not big topics of conversation when I was growing up.

I was brought up on a small farm in the south of Ireland, in a place called County Kerry—one of four brothers, one sister and 14 cows. It was a simple life. My brothers fixed tractors to make a few extra pounds. They were great at that; I wasn’t.

In those days, if someone had talked to me about the environment, I would have thought it was the fields around the farm. If someone had talked to me about ‘green’—I would have thought they were talking about how innocent and naive I was as I went to the big city for the first time to begin university.

My life and my circumstances are very different now. And so are the

 

 

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207BERNARD LOONEY

issues I care about. Today, we all know the global carbon budget is finite and running out. Today, we all know that dramatic changes are needed to deal with that. And momentum for change is growing all the time. The world wants as well as needs to be greener— and that’s what makes change possible.

And what I’d like to do is ask a question which gets right to the core of how companies like bp can help to solve this problem.

The question is this…

If climate change could be solved by getting exactly the right people together around a table, who would those people be?

In the UK, we had something called the rule of six during the Covid lockdown. No more than six people could get together—not unless they were part of the same household.

So, let’s say, if you could only get six people together around a table— around our table that is going to solve climate change—who would you invite?

Who would you have at the table?

Would you invite Greta Thunberg, who has mobilized a new generation behind climate action? Or maybe Luisa Neubauer, Adelaide Charlier, or Xiye Bastide? Or Damilola Ogun- biyi, the chief executive of Sustain- ability for All?

Would you invite Christiana Figue- res—one of the architects of the 2015 Paris Agreement? Or Patricia Espinosa, who succeeded Christiana as the head of the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change—the UNFCCC.

How about Sir David Atten- borough, Prince Charles, or Mary Robinson—whom my mother so admired—and who you’re about to hear from? Or how about Pope Francis? What about John Sauven of Greenpeace, or Mark Rose of Fauna & Flora International?

Every one of them is remarkable— an influencer, a changemaker, a leader. Passionate about the world and des- perately wanting to make it better. We could easily fill a table of six. Every one of them would be great—and I’m sure you can think of many more.

But I want to suggest a few different names to consider—some you might not ever contemplate.

Here goes…

I suggest we invite Jan Jenisch, the chief executive of LafargeHolcim, the world’s biggest producer of cement.

I’d also invite Lakshmi Mittal, the chairman of Arcelor Mittal—the world’s biggest producer of steel.

How about Ed Bastian of Delta Airlines—or Søren Skou of Maersk, the big shipping company?

I’d like to invite Herbert Diess of Volkswagen and Mary Barra—she’s the chair and chief executive of Gen- eral Motors. And how about any of the people like me who run the big international oil companies?

You might be thinking, why any of them, including you? Why anyone from an airline when air travel alone accounts for around 3% of global emissions.

Why anyone from a cement com- pany when cement is responsible for 8% of emissions.

Why anyone from a vehicle manu- facturer when road transport accounts for 21% of emissions—unless it’s Elon Musk?

Good question

What Elon Musk is doing with Tesla is amazing. He’s a brilliant guy running a brilliant company. Tesla sold around half a million electric vehicles last year. That’s a big number, but it is less than 1% of more than 70 million cars sold in total in 2020.

Seven million of them were made by General Motors, the company Mary Barra runs. Over nine million by the Volkswagen Group, the busi- ness that Herbert Diess runs.

And that is my point

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