BP fires up carbon-offset program

Oil giant BP, eager to show that it’s Beyond (all the) Petroleum (it’s leaked on the Alaskan tundra), has launched a carbon-offset program for drivers in the U.K. The new “targetneutral” website lets drivers log on to estimate their car’s annual carbon dioxide emissions, then calculate how much they should shell out to offset that output. Donations go to five renewable-energy projects in India and Mexico, and if drivers registered with the program buy their gas (excuse us, petrol) at a BP station, the company will even match ’em. BP calculates that driving the average car 10,000 miles a year emits enough CO2 to fill a hot air balloon — over four tons, approximately, which can be offset for less than $40 a year. It’s like magic! Sir Jonathon Porritt, who will chair an independent advisory panel that will monitor targetneutral, says, “Helping everyone get more ‘carbon literate’ is something all oil companies will need to commit to in the very near future.” Or they could focus on replacing corroded pipelines.