Think through the insistence here

And as it turns out, almost no one does seem to think Scope 3 is material. So we end up with the absurd situation where airports claim they are carbon-neutral because they ignore the emissions from the planes that fly from them and coal mines can make the same claim because they say someone else burns the coal that they mine, and they claim that’s got nothing to do with them when glaringly obviously that’s untrue.

My points then are very simple ones.

First, any accounting standard for greenhouse gas emissions that does not require Scope 3 disclosure is incomplete. In fact, it’s not a standard worth calling by that name because it ignores a crucial issue.

And second, anyone who claims they are carbon-neutral and ignores their Scope 3 emissions is making a claim that is simply not true.

And we need to say both of these things time, after time, after time.

OK. BP is including the emissions from the petrol it sells in its emissions responsibility. Therefore I, driving a petrol fueled car on gasoline bought from BP am carbon neutral. Because those emissions have already been accounted for up the supply chain.

Which is, obviously enough, ludicrous. Therefore so is the suggestion.

10 comments on “Think through the insistence here

  1. Does it matter? Either account for CO₂ when the fuel is extracted from the earth, or account for it when the fuel is burned. Just not both.

    If anything, making the producers (and importers) accountable is easier. There are only a handful of big oil companies, only a handful of oil terminals; and of course companies don’t get a vote. Taxing individual drivers & fliers is unpopular; it’s much safer politically to tax “evil big business”.

    Maybe I should jack in my day job and start writing politically expedient policies for the next Labour leader.

  2. “So we end up with the absurd situation where airports claim they are carbon-neutral because they ignore the emissions from the planes that fly from them and coal mines can make the same claim because they say someone else burns the coal that they mine”

    This is actually true. If both producer and consumer are ignoring it, then you get nowhere. However, I rather suspect that the potato wants both to declare it, which is equally absurd. Adding the cost at the producer has to be the sensible approach if you are going to do anything – then it just works its way through the price system.

  3. In the case of the motor car, by the Potato formerly known as Professor’s logic, it should be treble counted; Oil producer, petrol/diesel forecourt and motorist. He is neither an accountant nor an economist, just a complete moron.

  4. And yet I hear that when Shell set themselves the goal of reducing their global CO2 emissions, they have included all hydrocarbons extracted, traded or sold. I’ve no idea how they think they can reduce emissions after they’ve sold the product on.

    Can’t remember how much they said they’d reduce it by, maybe 50% by 2050? A reduction of 0.9 Giga Tonnes per year.

  5. “However, I rather suspect that the potato wants both to declare it, which is equally absurd. ”

    Everybody loves getting paid twice….

    “If anything, making the producers (and importers) accountable is easier. ”

    No it isn’t, as only a fraction of crude turns into fuel… The rest is used in [host of chemical industry processes]. And those fractions differ per field.. You can only sort-of-even remotely accurately tell how much CO2 is going to be produced by burning up those specific carbohydrates at the pump, not at the source.

  6. GC: ‘Hard to tell who we should shoot.’ Why not just shoot the lot.

    GK: I understand an oil refinery uses about one quarter of its oil to run the plant etc, so one could use nukes to provide the power and the process heat and thus reduce CO2 production by a quarter. (No. Despite my obsession with nukes, I don’t have shares in a uranium mine.)

  7. “And as it turns out, almost no one does seem to think Scope 3 is material.”

    Well, yes, because it’s complete and utter bullshit.

    “So we end up with the absurd situation where airports claim they are carbon-neutral because they ignore the emissions from the planes that fly from them”

    So let’s say I own a parking garage, couple of thousand people a day drop their cars off then pick them up at night. Am I responsible for their GHG emissions? An airport isn’t much more than a glorified car park.

    @Amdrew M

    “Does it matter? Either account for CO₂ when the fuel is extracted from the earth, or account for it when the fuel is burned. Just not both.”

    Problem with that is we’re looking at GHGs in general, not just CO2. The supplier doesn’t necessarily know what the buyer is doing with the feedstock. Accounting with dollars is hard enough, calculating ‘how much methane vs CO2 came out of my export’ is pretty close to impossible.

    In the real world, centralising this to suppliers is a way of picking favourites and shutting down the unrighteous.

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