Despite British Petroleum‘s earlier attempts to redefine itself as Beyond Petroleum, BP is returning to its roots:

Under Lord Browne, its previous chief executive, BP positioned itself as a pioneer of the revolution expected to change the energy business. It was a standard-bearer for hopes that companies that dominated the old world of energy would also lead the transition to the new one.

Although worldwide investment in renewable energy has taken a knock in the recession, the level of interest remains as strong as ever. The election of President Barack Obama has raised the prospect that Washington will sign up to an international agreement to curb carbon dioxide emissions, transforming the outlook for low-carbon energy sources.

Yet having led the charge, BP is now leading the retreat. When the world does move beyond fossil fuels, neither BP nor any other big oil company is likely to be in the vanguard.

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