If it were any other year, I wouldn’t believe it. But here we are in 2020: Oil and gas giant British Petroleum – BP – is “slashing oil and gas production by 40 percent, lowering carbon emissions by about a third, and boosting capital spending on low-carbon energy tenfold to $5 billion a year.”

Each week we summarize three pieces of news that give us hope for a brighter, greener future. This week’s BP bombshell easily takes the cake. To have Hopeful Headlines sent directly to your inbox, sign up for our free weekly newsletter!

BP built its business on oil and gas. Now climate change is taking it apart.

By Steven Mufson, Washington Post, August 4, 2020

  • A recent earnings report revealed steps oil giant BP is taking to achieve its goals to comply with the 2015 Paris climate accord, including net-zero carbon emissions by 2050. Those steps include “halting oil and gas exploration in new countries, slashing oil and gas production by 40 percent, lowering carbon emissions by about a third, and boosting capital spending on low-carbon energy tenfold to $5 billion a year.”
  • As a result, BP shares increased 7.8 percent on Tuesday while other oil companies saw meager gains.
  • BP is the first major oil company to make significant steps toward achieving its climate goals. ExxonMobil and Chevron remain committed to fossil fuels, despite significant devaluation due to the pandemic and climate implications.

Why does it matter? Regardless of BP’s motives, this is a major benchmark in the clean energy transition. And, so far, the seem to be better off for it. Big Oil definitely sees the writing on the wall — is this the first domino to fall?

Michigan farmers earn income by leasing land for solar installations – (visit link for audio)

Reporting by Sarah Kennedy/ChavoBart Digital Media, Yale Climate Connections

  • Leasing land to solar projects is giving farmers — especially aging farmers — a secondary source of income.
  • In Michigan, farmers can make up to $1,200 an acre for leasing their land to solar installations.
  • From the article: “What’s more, Michigan farmers can earn tax breaks for keeping land preserved as open space. That can include land leased for solar, as long as it meets certain conservation standards.”

Why does it matter? Clean energy, conserved land, secondary revenue for farmers….. what’s not to like here?

Global coal generation capacity falls for first time ever in 2020

By Michael Mazengarb, Renew Economy, August 3, 2020

  • In the first half of 2020, more coal fired power capacity was retired than constructed worldwide. Global Energy Monitor “found that 21.2GW of coal fired power stations were decommissioned in the first half of 2020, compared to 18.3GW of new coal fired plants completed during the same period.”
  • Europe led the way by closing 8.3GW of coal capacity already this year and has another 6GW on the chopping block. China accounted for the most new coal capacity, with 11.4GW constructed in the first half of the year.
  • From the article: “The United Kingdom has set a target to exit coal generation altogether by 2025, but Global Energy Monitor forecasts that a complete coal phase out could be achieved well before then, with the UK already reducing its coal power generation by 82 per cent over the last decade.”

Why does it matter? To meet the IPCC scenario to keep warming under 2 degrees, “global coal use in the power sector will need to halve by 2030.”

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