Environmental campaigners have slammed city leaders after they teamed up with energy giant BP to help meet emissions targets.
Aberdeen City Council announced earlier this week they had become just the second city in the world – after Houston – to enter a partnership with the oil and gas firm.
Both parties said the move would help the city achieve its Net Zero Vision, which was approved by councillors earlier this year.
However, campaigners have questioned the decision to link up with a company they say makes a significant contribution to climate change.
And city chiefs are now facing calls to think again over the partnership.
Guy Ingerson, convener of Aberdeen Greens, said: “It is really concerning to see the council doing this. I didn’t think they would be this stupid to go to BP about it. It’s like putting an arsonist in charge of the fire brigade.
“This is a city council which refused to even do the token gesture of declaring a climate emergency.
“Their record on the environment is poor and a lot of that is to do with election prospects.
“A lot is made of Aberdeen City Council promoting green energy, but when you actually scratch beneath the surface, it’s not worth the paper it’s written on.
“Ripping up the partnership would be a good start. There are plenty of other companies out there who it would be good to partner with.
“We have to take another look at the plan the council has at the moment and think about what we are planning to do.”
Dr Richard Dixon, director of Friends of the Earth Scotland, said: “BP have been responsible for a significant fraction of the climate change the world has suffered, partnering with BP to reduce emissions is like asking a car salesman to help you design public transport.
“BP’s previous flirtations with pretending to be serious about climate change have all turned out to be PR spin and this looks no different, with plans to use fossil fuels to make hydrogen for transport already obsolete in the face of the rise of electric vehicles and the threat of even more incineration wasting resources that should be recycled.
“The council’s intentions might be laudable but there are many more neutral partners Aberdeen could have chosen, this just looks like falling for BP’s greenwash.”
Under the partnership, the council will use BP’s expertise in areas such as low-carbon energy systems, transport and heating.
They will also explore alternatives to fossil fuels, such as hydrogen.
Jenny Laing, the city council’s co-leader, said:
Aberdeen City Council Co-Leader Councillor Jenny Laing said: “We made a clear statement of our intent to respond to the climate change challenges and become a net-zero city in the vision and infrastructure plan we approved earlier in the summer and it is clear BP has technical and research and development expertise in areas which will assist us in finding the energy solutions to realise our low emissions objectives.
“We believe our collaboration with BP will help support the Scottish Government’s commitment to a target of net-zero emissions of all greenhouse gases by 2045.”
She added: “For us, the key areas for collaboration include hydrogen, energy efficiency of buildings, transport and mobility.
“We see this as an exciting opportunity for Aberdeen City Council to work with industry to progress potential solutions.
“It also sends a positive signal to partners, stakeholders, investors and Government that Aberdeen is the best location for Scotland’s renewables sector to progress to its next phase which is key for our region as we emerge from challenges our economy faces from fluctuating oil and gas prices and Covid-19.”
Peter Mather, BP’s senior vice-president for Europe and UK, said: “Aberdeen is an impressive, forward-thinking city where for more than 50 years bp has developed a strong and successful relationship through our North Sea operations.
“This new agreement with Aberdeen City Council is the natural evolution of our relationship, working together as we each pursue our net-zero ambitions. It also reaffirms BP’s commitment to Aberdeen and to working collaboratively to drive the region towards net zero.”