Recent studies have found that Big Oil represents the most significant contributor to atmospheric greenhouse gas volumes of any industry, and in the current climate it is unsurprising that BP has joined the growing list of large firms committing to net zero emissions.
Its new chief executive officer, Bernard Looney, announced the new goal and a new ambition for the company, saying: "The world's carbon budget is finite and running out fast; we need a rapid transition to net zero".
Looney said in the statement: "The world's carbon budget is finite and running out fast".
USA oil giants Exxon, Chevron and ConocoPhillips - aware that President Donald Trump is sceptical about climate change and business-friendly approach to the American economy - have set far less ambitious targets than their European rivals.
BP has tried to wean itself off oil and gas before and failed - nearly 20 years ago it launched a Beyond Petroleum plan which included ambitious proposals for a new renewables business but it failed with huge losses.
Mr Looney also announced BP would undergo a restructure, to make it "more integrated and more focused", which will include the dismantling of their upstream and downstream businesses, which would be reorganised into 11 leadership teams.More news: Syrian air defence intercepts missile attack over Damascus
London-based BP has extended its commitment to reducing its carbon footprint to net zero by 2050 or sooner.
"We all want energy that is reliable and affordable, but that is no longer enough. And we want to change - this is the right thing for the world and for BP".
Anglo-Dutch group Shell has set Scope 3 targets based on intensity rather than on absolute reduction terms. But Charlie Kronick, oil advisor from Greenpeace UK, was sceptical about how BP can deliver.
BP wants to reduce its emissions to net zero from what is now around 415 million tonnes of CO2-equivalent a year. The company plans to set out more of its strategy and short-term plans in September.
For BP to survive the energy transition in a world that's gradually falling out of love with oil, it will need to make big investments in new sources of clean energy, ensure cash keeps flowing from its fossil fuel assets and also funnel generous returns to investors.
One possible way to hit greenhouse gas reduction targets is to buy offset certificates and bet on carbon capture and storage technology, which is not yet used on a commercial scale.More news: Congo's Ebola outbreak slows but still global emergency
Image was nevertheless also taking centre stage in Looney's presentation, which began with a counter-intuitive video that featured angry climate protesters together with their tweets that portrayed BP as greedy, uncaring and unresponsive to the global climate emergency.
The damaging effects of rising global temperatures are increasingly evident and established investors are starting to worry about the vulnerability of their investment portfolios to a climate crisis.
It's easier for a company to reign in emissions from its direct operations; many companies making net-zero pledges have stopped short of counting the climate pollution generated from customers using their products, called "Scope 3 emissions". That means that absolute emissions can rise with growing production, even if the headline intensity metric falls.
We need a rapid transition to net zero.
BP will also set "new expectations" for relationships with trade organisations and be ready to quit if they are not aligned.More news: 'Tuchel is PSG's worst coach since the Qatari takeover'