Beijing May Be More Addicted to Coal Than Oil – by David Fickling (Bloomberg News – September 5, 2020)

(Bloomberg Opinion) — There’s one surprise entrant in the group of oil companies announcing plans this year for how they’ll reduce emissions: PetroChina Co.

China’s oil companies, unlike their peers in the U.S. and particularly Europe, don’t traditionally treat climate targets as a major issue. Beijing, after all, isn’t even promising to hit its emissions peak until 2030.

The large fund managers that have been pressuring Western oil companies to improve their carbon commitments don’t make much difference, either. PetroChina’s chairman, Dai Houliang, is a Communist bureaucrat whose more significant job is party secretary of state-owned parent China National Petroleum Corp.

His main role at PetroChina is to make sure it plays its part in guaranteeing energy security, one of Beijing’s most critical issues. As shareholders will no doubt be bitterly aware, their interests are neither here nor there:

So PetroChina’s announcement in its half-year results last week that it would seek a “near-zero” target for emissions by 2050 is unexpected.

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