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Oil chief says action needed on global warming
1 June 1997
A senior British Petroleum executive has publicly acknowledged that there is scientific consensus on global warming and that it would be "unwise and potentially dangerous" to ignore the issue. The comments by John Browne, group chief executive of the British oil company, are being seen by environmentalists as a stunning admission, akin to the shaking given to the tobacco industry when the Liggett Group acknowledged that smoking causes cancer. Browne made the comments in a speech at Stanford University in northern California last month. He also said it is time "for change and for a rethinking of corporate responsibility." The oil industry has held that science has yet to prove a link between the burning of fossil fuels or auto emissions and global warming. The Sierra Club's Dan Becker comments: "The oil industry is now split over global warming and that's significant." Browne also reiterated that BP, one of the world's four largest oil companies, sees the potential for profit in solar power and wants to invest heavily enough to reach $1 billion in sales in the next decade. "We must focus now on what can and should be done, not because we can be certain that global warming is happening but because the possibility can't be ignored," Browne continued. "If we are to take responsibility for the future of our planet, then it falls to us to begin to take precautionary action now."
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