October 7, 2015 / 9:40 AM / 3 years ago

UPDATE 2-Oil bosses to meet in latest climate change offensive

* Leaders of 8 oil majors to meet in Paris on Oct. 16

* To present proposals ahead of U.N. summit

* Total boss says looking at areas of cooperation such as in CCS (Recasts, updates throughout)

By Ron Bousso and Karolin Schaps

LONDON, Oct 7 (Reuters) - The leaders of eight of the world’s top oil companies will meet in Paris next week to explain how they will help combat climate change, as part of an offensive ahead of a U.N. summit later this year.

The Oct. 16 meeting will be followed by a press conference, where the company heads are also expected to renew their call for a global carbon pricing mechanism, the chief executive of French oil major Total, Patrick Pouyanne, said on Wednesday at a conference in London.

Pouyanne said the company leaders would present proposals to combat global warming ahead of the December Paris climate talks, where governments will set new goals for combating climate change.

“We need to be on the offensive ... We need to be serious to bring answers and solutions to the table and not leave policy makers raising their fingers that they (oil companies) are the devils,” Pouyanne said at the Oil and Money conference.

“We are looking at areas of cooperation, for example in research and development, in CCS (carbon capture and storage) ... We all have some experience individually but it’s one area where we could join efforts,” Pouyanne added.

The meeting will be part of the Oil and Gas Climate Initiative, a U.N.-backed scheme involving a number of major oil and gas companies.

PRICING SYSTEM

Earlier this year BG Group, BP, Eni, Royal Dutch Shell, Statoil and Total wrote to U.N. climate chief Christiana Figueres, urging governments around the world to introduce a pricing system for carbon emissions.

Pouyanne and other executives have called for replacing coal with less polluting gas to reduce carbon emissions.

Setting a price for each tonne of carbon that emitters produce is meant to encourage companies to adopt cleaner technologies and shift away from fossil fuels, primarily coal.

In a joint statement, the companies acknowledged the current trend in greenhouse gas emissions was too high to meet the United Nation’s target of limiting global warming by no more than 2 degrees.

Responding to the letter, Figueres said oil companies needed to step up their own efforts to fight climate change.

Exxon Mobil and Chevron, the two largest U.S. oil companies, did not take part in the letter. Exxon chief Rex Tillerson on Wednesday called for a revenue-neutral global carbon tax that would differ in each country.

“We believe the risks posed by climate change are serious. We also believe by taking sound and wise action now we can better mitigate those risks,” Tillerson said at the conference.

“We have held the view that a revenue-neutral carbon tax is the best option. The revenue-neutral carbon tax could be a workable policy framework for countries around the world. They can tailor it to their own economic conditions.” (Additional reporting by Dmitry Zhdannikov and Susanna Twidale; Editing by Pravin Char and David Holmes)

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