Big oil firms support 2050 net-zero goal: COP28 president Al Jaber

ABU DHABI – A top Emirati oil executive said on Monday that more than 20 oil and gas companies were rallying around his calls to curb carbon emissions ahead of a United Nations summit on climate change.

The COP28 summit is scheduled to take place in Dubai between Nov 30 and Dec 12.

“For too long, this industry has been viewed as part of the problem, that it’s not doing enough and in some cases even blocking progress,” COP28 president Sultan Al Jaber said at an oil and gas conference in Abu Dhabi, the capital city of the United Arab Emirates (UAE).

“This is your opportunity to show the world that, in fact, you are central to the solution,” he said, addressing major energy companies.

Dr Al Jaber said that more than 20 oil and gas companies had positively answered calls to align around net-zero by 2050, zero out methane emissions and eliminate routine flaring by 2030. He did not elaborate.

On Sunday, major oil and gas company chiefs held discussions with heavy industry bosses in the UAE in an effort to agree a firm commitment to reduce carbon emissions.

It is seen as a crucial opportunity for governments to accelerate action to limit global warming with reports so far showing countries are off track to meet promises to limit the rise in global temperatures to 1.5 deg C.

“What we have done today is something quite unprecedented in the COP process, to bring together both the demand and supply side in terms of emissions,” Mr Adnan Amin, COP28 chief executive officer, told Reuters.

He said the aim was to get major industry players to make decarbonisation commitments that would help limit global warming.

“We are hoping to reach this agreement before COP28 and then to align on how best this will be positioned at the COP.”

Part of the conversation

The gathering brought together CEOs from more than 50 companies from the oil and gas sector – the supply side – and the aluminium, steel and cement industries – the energy demand side.

The meeting, convened by Dr Jaber, was attended by US Climate Envoy John Kerry and tackled issues such as commercialising hydrogen, scaling up carbon capture technologies, methane elimination and increasing renewable energy, a statement by COP28 said.

Dr Jaber, UAE’s president of the conference, has said the oil and gas industry needs to be part of the conversation on climate change. He has urged the energy industry to achieve net-zero emissions by or before 2050 and to accelerate an industry-wide commitment to reach near-zero methane emissions by 2030.

The inclusion of oil and gas representatives is a far cry from the 2021 UN climate change summit in Scotland, where energy companies complained they were shut out of the event.

Ahead of COP28, countries remain divided between those demanding a deal to phase out planet-warming fossil fuels and nations insisting on preserving a role for coal, oil and natural gas.

“If the oil and gas industry signs up to decarbonisation agreements and methane abatement that is a huge contribution to the debate,” Mr Amin said.

“It will be the first COP that we can measure the carbon that we are taking off the table.”

Dr Jaber, who is also head of UAE state oil giant Abu Dhabi National Oil Company, was a controversial pick to lead the climate summit because UAE is an Organisation of Petroleum Exporting Countries member and a major oil exporter. REUTERS


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