The Greenpeace protestors rather misunderstand the purpose of a company like BP

There’s always an amusement to watching those who have no clue trying to discuss a technical subject. It’s that old joke about the typist trying to use tippex on the screen come to life. So it is with the Greenpeace activist trying to tell us all what should be done with BP. Or what BP should do perhaps:

So what should BP do? It should go 100% renewable, starting with abandoning all of its fossil fuel exploration plans, today, and become part of the solution to the catastrophic problem it has caused.

This is to entirely fail to understand Coase on the existence of the firm - as well as other bits and bobs of economics.

The firm exists to perform a task. The form of that firm will depend upon the task to be undertaken and the technology and structure of the economy around it. Whether a firm even exists - instead of a shifting network of contractors - depends upon those things.

All of which means that if we change the task then that current firm becomes an irrelevance.

We can approach the same point from the other way. BPs varied assets are optimised to the extraction of, transport, refining and marketing, of fossil fuel products. These are all done in markedly different manners than anything to do with renewables. We shouldn’t, wouldn’t and can’t repurpose them to building, say, solar panels. To think that “energy provider” equals “energy provider” is to think that the toy scooter maker should be building jumbo jets - they’re both transport, right?

Further, all that implicit and explicit knowledge within the company is about those fossil fuels. BP actually sold off the division that knew anything about polycrystalline silicon decades back.

If we have some new task that needs to be done then we need that new organisation, in whatever different form, to do that new task. The idea that oil companies should up and build windmills is absurd.