“Who’s talking about climate change now?” energy producers say | Climate crisis news

Proponents of fossil fuel production are abandoning efforts to combat the climate crisis, urgently stopping the burning of hydrocarbons, as the Russian invasion of Ukraine seriously disrupts energy supplies.

A series of summits in the United Arab Emirates addressed the threat of climate change this week, recognizing that a shift from fossil fuels to cleaner energy sources is needed to keep global temperatures from rising.

However, the obvious drawbacks are when and how to achieve this. For fossil fuel producers, more investment, not less, is needed in oil and gas.

“At this time, we definitely need to include all available resources,” UAE Energy Minister Suhail al-Mazrui said at an energy forum in Dubai.

“We can’t ignore or say we’re going to give up a certain production. It’s just not the best time, no matter what you have, ”he said, adding that it would make energy prices too high for millions of people around the world.

During the week in Dubai there were drumbeats, which reflected the fact that fossil fuel producers are seeking to participate in the global conversation on climate change. It was addressed at the Atlantic Council’s Global Energy Forum, the World Government Summit and the UAE-sponsored Climate Week in partnership with the United Nations.

OPEC Secretary General Mohammad Sanusi Barkinda said at the upcoming UN climate talks known as COP27 in Egypt and COP28 in the UAE next year, producers can address issues around “inclusiveness” to ensure no sector is left behind to address the issue of investing in the industry and overestimating the conversation ”.

He said limiting global temperature growth to no more than 1.5 degrees Celsius (2.7 degrees Fahrenheit) and the role of oil and gas “are not mutually exclusive.” This amount of warming compared to pre-industrial times is a benchmark, and scientists say that warming that exceeds it will expose people around the world to much greater extremes.

“Radical actions”

As extreme weather events, including superstorms, forest fires and floods, increasingly affect countries around the world, even a slight increase in global temperatures will exacerbate the situation.

But to substantiate their argument, proponents of greater fossil fuel investment have repeatedly pointed to current high oil and gas prices as a reminder of global oil demand. Sometimes there has been almost ridicule that countries like the United States, the UK and others are calling for a reduction in fossil fuel use in the long run, but are also asking for more oil to lower prices for consumers.

The UN Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change and other international organizations have said that there should be no new investment in fossil fuel infrastructure to combat climate change, and fossil fuels, which are most responsible for climate change, should be phased out.

This was repeated in a 350-page report by the International Renewable Energy Agency this week, which said the world must take “radical action” by investing $ 5.7 trillion each year until 2030 to move away from fossil fuels. IRENA, headquartered in the UAE capital Abu Dhabi, has said that $ 700 billion in investments should be diverted from the hydrocarbon sector each year.

“The energy transition is a long way off, and everything but radical action in the coming years will reduce and even eliminate the chances of achieving our climate goals,” said Francesco La Camera, IRENA’s CEO, when the report came out. comes out.

Scientists say global greenhouse gas emissions should fall by 45 percent by the end of this decade compared to 1990 levels. But recent data show that despite rapid growth in renewable energy use, overall emissions are rising rather than declining amid rising energy demand and expanding fossil fuel use.

“Energy security first”

OPEC predicts that by 2040 and beyond, especially in Asia, more oil will be needed.

Brent oil costs $ 105 a barrel, the highest in eight years, and Russia’s invasion of Ukraine has shaken the energy sector.

“Look what’s happening today. Who is talking about climate change now? Who is talking about taking care of energy security in the first place? ” This was stated by the Minister of Energy of Saudi Arabia, Prince Abdulaziz bin Salman, at the World Government summit in Dubai.

Without energy security, countries will lose the means to combat climate change, he said.

“Cannot be disabled”

Managing Director of the International Monetary Fund Kryshtalina Georgieva encouraged developed countries to achieve the goal of allocating $ 100 billion a year in climate finance to developing countries. She made the remarks this week at the World Government summit in Dubai, where she presented an IMF document entitled “The Feeling of Warmth” on adapting to climate change in the Middle East.

The argument made by Sultan al-Jaber, who is also the UAE’s special envoy for climate change and managing director of the state oil company Abu Dhabi, is that the transition to energy will take time. And in this period of time, he said, the world will need more oil and gas.

“Simply put, we cannot and should not shut down the current energy system before we build a new one,” he said at the energy forum.

At a UN-backed climate week event, he said an attempt to get rid of hydrocarbons had led to cuts in supplies.

In his dual role as climate change envoy and head of ADNOC, a state-owned oil and gas firm, al-Jaber symbolizes the two paths that the UAE has taken. On the one hand, the country has committed to zero emissions within 2050. On the other hand, it is committed to increasing oil and gas production for export. The country’s commitments do not apply to emissions from the combustion of this fuel.

Al Jaber summed up the double track, saying the UAE is expanding production capacity of what it called “the world’s least carbon oil to more than five million barrels a day,” and natural gas capacity by 30 percent. At the same time, the UAE plans to invest $ 160 billion in renewable energy to reach its zero promise.

“Vain investments, messy assets”

Saudi Arabia, which has pledged zero emissions by 2060, is similarly cutting emissions domestically, promising to continue pumping oil to the last drop. Production capacity is increasing as the Gulf countries experience rising temperatures and humidity, as well as water shortages that threaten food security and life in the Middle East.

UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres has called for an end to private-sector funding for coal energy, which reached a record high last year.

“Lenders must recognize that coal and fossil fuels are useless investments that will lead to billions of dollars in obscure assets,” he said.

As countries such as the United States increase domestic fossil fuel production amid rising energy prices and fears of supply shortages due to Russia’s war in Ukraine, Guterres urged governments not to delay the transition from fossil fuels.

“The current crisis shows that we need to speed up, not slow down, the transition to renewable energy,” he said. “This is the only real path to energy security.”

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