Bernard Looney, BP’s new chief executive, wants to cut his company’s greenhouse gas emissions down to zero by 2050. To do that, the world’s sixth-largest energy company is committing itself to massive investment in renewable energy, including wind, solar and biofuels.
“We aim to invest more and more in low-carbon businesses over time, and less and less in oil and gas,” commented Looney. BP’s decision to shift gears, he added, was driven not just by government policies that favor lower emissions but also demand from customers, investors and members of his own staff.
The U.K.-based energy provider may be more aggressive than its peers when it comes to plotting a carbon-free future, but it’s certainly not alone. Royal Dutch Shell, Total, Equinor and other traditional fossil fuel producers have also recently been diverting significant amounts of capital to renewable energy.
And it’s not just energy companies. Teck Resources, the giant Vancouver-based miner of copper, coal and zinc, announced in early February that it too has plans to be carbon-neutral by 2050.
“Providing the world with clean, reliable, affordable energy,” Looney said, “will require nothing less than reimagining energy.”
Adjusting Our Investment Strategy for a Changing World
Similarly, it may also require reimagining what it means to invest in energy and natural resources. And that’s precisely what we’ve been doing at U.S. Global Investors, particularly when it comes to our Global Resources Fund (PSPFX).
Although we’re not ready to toss out fossil fuel and carbon emitting companies altogether, we have been increasing the fund’s exposure to clean renewable energy. About 18 percent of the fund is now devoted to companies that are involved in either manufacturing wind turbines or solar panels (Vestas Wind Systems, for example, the world’s number one supplier of wind turbines) or generating and retailing electricity that’s been sourced through renewable means (Australia’s AGL Energy, whose energy mix includes not just wind and solar but also thermal and hydroelectric).
Copper will continue to play an important role in the gradual shift to renewables. In some cases, wind turbines and solar facilities can use as much as 12 times more of the red metal than traditional energy systems, according to the Copper Development Association (CDA). As such, we have maintained positions in key copper producers, including Ivanhoe Mines, Anglo American and BHP, whose stock may benefit from higher copper prices.