Illustration: Rebecca Zisser/Axios

Only a very small handful of oil companies have laid out any kind of targets around Scope 3 emissions, which make up the vastly larger pollution from the use of their products in the economy, but that's quickly changing amid rising activist and investor pressure on oil giants over global warming.

Driving the news: Oil-and-gas giant Equinor rolled out on Thursday new climate plans that include a pledge to cut carbon intensity (that is, emissions per unit of output) by at least 50% by 2050 — a commitment that will cover Scope 3.

In addition to Equinor's move, Greenpeace protesters yesterday temporarily shut down BP's London offices and nine people were arrested, per multiple reports. atts of capacity.

  • The company said it intends to become a "global offshore wind major."
  • In addition, Equinor said it wants its direct operations to be carbon neutral by 2030.

What's next: BP, a bigger global player than Equinor, will unveil updated climate plans next Wednesday, which, per Reuters, are also expected to include some kind of Scope 3 element.

  • The last 24 hours have only intensified the spotlight on BP.
  • In addition to Equinor's move, Greenpeace protestors yesterday temporarily shut down BP's London offices and nine people were arrested, per multiple reports.
  • It occurred on the first day of longtime BP executive Bernard Looney's tenure as CEO.

Quick take: Equinor's announcement signals that addressing Scope 3 is quickly becoming the new table stakes at a time of growing pressure on the oil industry. The sector has been expanding its investments in low-carbon tech and startups, but that remains a very small fraction of overall spending.

  • The specifics of BP's plan will matter a lot. Equinor's plan is an intensity target, not an absolute reduction goal.
  • The big Spain-based oil company Repsol in December pledged to reach net-zero absolute emissions, including Scope 3, by 2050.

What they're saying: "Equinor's announcement substantially raises the bar for how BP's commitment will be judged," Andrew Logan of the sustainable investment advocacy group Ceres tells Axios."Anything that doesn't include a substantial commitment to lower Scope 3 emissions will be seen as falling short," he added.

  • Edward Mason, head of responsible investment of the Church Commissioners for England, said this morning on his personal Twitter feed that Equinor is doing "some great stuff," but added:
  • "I'm not sure a pledge to halve carbon intensity by 2050 does it any more. #Repsol has shown the net zero 2050 ambition we need."

Go deeper: BP rolls out new plastics recycling effort

Go deeper

Updated 2 hours ago - Politics & Policy

Coronavirus dashboard

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

  1. Health: Fauci says U.S. may not return to normal until 2022 — Trump's testing czar: Surge "is real" and not just caused by more tests
  2. World: Taiwan reaches a record 200 days with no local coronavirus cases
  3. Europe faces "stronger and deadlier" wave France imposes lockdown Germany to close bars and restaurants for a month.
  4. Sports: Boston Marathon delayed MLB to investigate Dodgers player who joined celebration after positive COVID test.

In pictures: Storm Zeta churns inland after lashing Louisiana

Debris on the streets as then-Hurricane Zeta passes over in Arabi, Louisiana, on Oct. 28. It's the third hurricane to hit Louisiana in about two months, after Laura and Delta. Photo: Sandy Huffaker/Getty Images

Tropical Storm Zeta has killed at least two people, triggered flooding, downed powerlines and caused widespread outages since making landfall in Louisiana as a Category 2 hurricane on Wednesday.

The big picture: A record 11 named storms have made landfall in the U.S. this year. Zeta is the fifth named storm to do so in Louisiana in 2020, the most ever recorded. It weakened t0 a tropical storm early Thursday, as it continued to lash parts of Alabama and the Florida Panhandle with heavy rains and strong winds.

4 hours ago - World

Taiwan reaches a record 200 days with no local coronavirus cases

Catholics go through containment protocols including body-temperature measurement and hands-sanitisation before entering the Saint Christopher Parish Church, Taipei City, Taiwan, in July. Photo: Ceng Shou Yi/NurPhoto via Getty Images

Taiwan on Thursday marked no locally transmitted coronavirus cases for 200 days, as the island of 23 million people's total number of infections reported stands at 550 and the COVID-19 death toll at seven.

Why it matters: Nowhere else has reached such a milestone. While COVID-19 cases surge across the U.S. and Europe, Taiwan's last locally transmitted case was on April 12. Experts credit tightly regulated travel, early border closure, "rigorous contact tracing, technology-enforced quarantine and universal mask wearing" and the island state's previous experience with the SARS virus for the achievement, per Bloomberg.

Go deeper: As Taiwan's profile rises, so does risk of conflict with China