Fossil fuel companies must take responsibility for reducing CO2 emissions fueling climate change, US Climate Envoy John Kerry said on Tuesday, as countries prepare to debate the future of fossil fuels at this year’s UN COP28 climate summit.
The oil and gas industry is expected to be in the spotlight at the COP28 summit, which will be held from November 30 to December 12 in the United Arab Emirates, a major oil producer.
Several countries plan to push for the first global agreement to phase out CO2-emitting coal, oil and gas.
Kerry said fossil fuel companies have a responsibility to show they can be part of global efforts to reduce CO2 emissions.
“My message to the oil and gas companies is simple. There’s only one reason we’re in this crisis and that’s the main way we supply our energy,” Kerry told Reuters.
“We demand public accountability. And we look at companies and feel they can do more to help us win this battle.”
The incoming president of COP28 of the United Arab Emirates, Sultan Al Jaber, who also heads the state oil company ADNOC, defended the industry’s inclusion in the event and called on oil and gas companies to commit to reducing carbon emissions. .
Major oil and gas companies believe in investing in carbon capture and storage and removal technologies as part of their net-zero emissions plans, as well as renewable energy and hydrogen.
However, others such as Shell and BP have backed off their commitments in recent months, even as they post record profits.
Daniel Westlén, Sweden’s Secretary of State for Climate, told Reuters that although UN climate negotiations are strictly between governments, fossil fuel companies must also participate.
“Replacing 80% of the world’s primary energy with something else is like replacing veins and arteries when the patient is standing. It’s hard to do without them,” he said.
“You need a plan, forward planning. And that plan will probably have to involve fossil fuel companies in some way, but the ultimate goal is to stop fossil fuels,” he added.
Kerry said investments by oil and gas companies in emerging technologies such as direct air capture and carbon capture and storage are welcome, but it is too early to tell if they will have an impact. of global greenhouse gas emissions.
“Their investment is crucial, but we still don’t know if it’s a fig leaf or not. There are many doubts about whether they can produce at scale. That remains to be proven,” he said.
Jennifer Morgan, Germany’s special envoy for climate action, said that the reliable plans of oil companies must address greenhouse gas emissions from operations as well as their use by consumers. Morgan said companies also need to eliminate methane emissions and increase spending on renewable energy.
“They need to reorient their investments, because currently about 5% is allocated to renewable energy, and it should be more than 50%,” he told Reuters.