Sultan al-Jaber, CEO of Abu Dhabi National Oil Co., which will lead international climate talks later this year, said on Monday the world needs to cut emissions by 7% each year and eliminate all methane emissions, strong comments from an oil executive.
But in his speech at Ceraweek in Houston, al-Jaber didn’t directly address emissions from transportation, the destination of most crude oil. Emissions from transport are the biggest contributors to climate change in many countries, including the United States.
Al-Jaber named electricity, cement, steel and aluminum as targets for cleaning, but not trucks, cars, trains and planes. He called for far greater investment to accelerate the transition to cleaner industries.
“According to the IEA, the world will have invested $1.4 trillion in the energy transition in 2022,” he said. “We need more than triple that.”
And he said that investment must go to developing countries.
“Only 15 percent of clean technology investments reach developing countries in the Global South, and that’s where 80 percent of the population lives,” he said.
Al-Jaber did not call for a phase-out of oil and gas exploration and exploitation, which scientists and advocates have unsuccessfully called for at repeated COPs, short for Conferences of the Parties, where nations meet to make climate commitments.
According to the International Energy Agency, there must be no new oil and gas production to avoid the worst of climate change.
The UAE leader said his country was the first in his region to commit to the Paris Climate Agreement and embark on a net-zero emissions path. But its emissions in 2021 were up 3% year over year, not down, according to the Global Carbon Project. However, they were 6% below the country’s peak in 2015. According to Climate Action Tracker, the UAE has an overall rating of “highly inadequate”, meaning its projected emissions are not consistent with a 1.5 degree Celsius warming limit.
The Abu Dhabi National Oil Co. pumps around 4 million barrels of crude oil per day and plans to expand to 5 million barrels per day.
Each year, nations gather at the COP to discuss how the Paris Agreement goals of limiting global warming to just 1.5 degrees Celsius (2.7 degrees Fahrenheit) by 2050 can be achieved through international cooperation.
The 28th such conference, COP28, will take place in Dubai from 30 November to 12 December. The choice of country has drawn criticism given the country’s high and growing crude oil production.
As president of this year’s meeting, al-Jaber will influence how much pressure is placed on those responsible for climate change, countries and companies that extract and burn coal, oil and gas.
Al-Jaber is Minister of Industry and Advanced Technology of the United Arab Emirates and Chairman of Masdar, a renewable energy company.
Ceraweek attracts senior oil and gas officials each year and is hosted by S&P Global.
Ellen Knickmeyer of Washington DC and Mary Katherine Wildeman of Hartford, Connecticut.
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