BP and Shell are two of the leading Texas oil companies to announce a plan to reach net zero carbon emissions by 2050. The goal would allow the Houston-based companies to emit some CO2. However, they would have to offset it by deploying carbon capture or renewables.
But these announcements may turn out to be unachievable, according to a new report. Consultants from Accenture argue that even in a best-case scenario, oil majors will only manage to reach 80 percent of their target.
“Net zero may not be a good articulation of aspiration,” said David Rabley, managing director of energy, strategy and consulting for Accenture. “From our analysis, while we’re still going to see some emissions, society’s goal is to get as close to net zero as possible.”
The consultancy firm estimates that total carbon emissions are currently 40 gigatons a year. Almost two thirds of this total are associated with oil and gas.
Reducing this figure will take several decades, the report predicts. A major reason is because there are more than 2 billion gas-powered vehicles in use. Other industries, such as commercial aviation, do not yet have a viable alternative to fossil fuels.