BP’s chief executive has said governments need to target consumers’ pockets before the energy industry will prioritise sustainable sources over non-renewables.
Bob Dudley said “basic economics” show politicians need to tax non-renewable energy before big businesses can fully replace it with greener alternatives.
Mr Dudley, 64, told the PA news agency: “I think governments have to step up.
“Politicians have 18 months to three years on their horizon.
“We do need a world that pays for carbon (…) because you (consumers) don’t change your behaviours unless you actually put a price on something.
“And it can’t be just producers, it has to be people at home that hit the switch for electricity. They also have to pay, and that means they’ll use less electricity.
“We need some basic economics to kick in.”
He added: “20% of the world’s carbon has a price on it, so it’s not like it isn’t happening.”
Mr Dudley spoke alongside BP’s chief economist Spencer Dale at the One Young World climate summit on Wednesday, an event connecting young leaders from over 190 countries with business leaders and philanthropists.
In a speech to the summit, Mr Dale said he was “really nervous” to be representing the oil giant, and wanted to stress he “truly” believes BP is not to blame for climate change.
The former chief economist for the Bank of England said consumer demand and the inability of politicians to create a global green plan meant BP cannot fully replace non-renewables with sustainable sources.
The economist urged the audience to “support and pressure our governments to think long term and globally”.
He said: “Climate change has two key features: it’s long term and it’s global.
“These features make it hard to solve for two reasons.
“The nature of our electoral system means our politicians are short term and local.
“That’s not a criticism, it’s just a fact.”
The annual One Young World summit is showcasing speakers including Bob Geldof, Sir John Major and singer Ellie Goulding this year.
The event is taking place at the QEII and Westminster Hall in central London from October 22-25 after an opening night attended by the Duchess of Sussex.