The annual general meetings of BP and Royal Dutch Shell confirmed Europe’s two largest oil and gas majors are on diverging tracks in the battle against climate change.

Both companies now accept the need to overhaul their businesses in a manner that would have been unthinkable even five years ago, as the clamour from investors and activists has become too loud to ignore. But their approaches differ in one key way.

Shell has said it will take responsibility, over time, for reducing the net carbon footprint of the fuels it produces, essentially putting itself on the hook for the emissions produced when the company’s customers burn oil and gas in their cars and homes.

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