Less gas to save the climate and oil companies: This is how Sheikhs lead the COP in Dubai

Skepticism and mistrust underlie COP28, the annual United Nations climate summit that begins on November 30 and runs until December 12. The first factor that caused this sensation is the place where it will be held: Dubai, the capital of the United Arab Emirates, one of the oil giants of the Middle East. There is also concern that global leaders are grappling with two high-profile wars: the war in Ukraine started by Russia and the war in the Middle East, where Israel is determined to destroy Hamas. Two conflicts that are draining the energy and resources of half the world, distracting them from what is needed to accelerate the energy transition.

Even oil lords suffer from climate

The United Arab Emirates, the world’s seventh largest oil producer, is committed to continuing to exploit this resource as long as it is available. The same goes for other Gulf countries aiming to further strengthen their extraction and export capacities. Although Saudi Arabia and Bahrain decided to postpone climate neutrality until 2060, Kuwait and Qatar have not set climate targets at all. But at the same time, there is a shortage of water and home-grown food in the region, and despite the air conditioning in the skyscrapers of the cities built in the desert, the heat is reaching unbearable levels. Another looming risk: rising sea levels. In short, even the oil giants face the climate threat, but they also finance energy transitions with the profits they make from fossil fuels.

Sheikhs’ renewable energy sources

The United Arab Emirates represents a prime example, given that they are already committedly investing in decarbonization. A plan to eliminate greenhouse gases equivalent to the annual emissions of half a million petrol cars was announced in September. Other operations are related to reducing methane emissions. Abu Dhabi National Oil Company (Adnoc) is spending nearly $4 billion to transport carbon-free electricity via undersea cables connected to offshore platforms to replace burning natural gas. There is also Masdar, a company that specializes in renewable energy and manages huge solar parks. While this giant, in which Adnoc also has shares, committed to establishing 100 gigawatts of renewable energy capacity by 2030, this capacity remained at only 15 gigawatts in 2021. Work on renewable energy sources began in 2006, long before the solar energy revolution was considered indispensable. Masdar has already reached Europe with projects in Germany, Poland, Serbia and the United Kingdom, among others. The same man is at the top of both Adnoc and Masdar; Sultan Ahmed Al Jaber, the most controversial and controversial figure tasked with the organization of COP28. In October, Al Jaber met with Prime Minister Giorgia Meloni in Italy. The duo called for “strong and ambitious action from all countries to strengthen their 2030 Nationally Determined Contributions (NDCs) in all dimensions and at a much faster pace to achieve the long-term goals” envisaged by the Paris Agreement. We read it in a note published by the Council Presidency at the end of the meeting.

Reduce gas emissions

At the summit, where thousands of technical targets and complex procedures take place, three important issues are expected to attract the most attention. At the top must be methane, a greenhouse gas that has been under-appreciated for far too long compared to carbon dioxide. However, it can be reported that some positive steps have been taken recently. The European Union has agreed on tighter limits on emissions of this gas, including greater controls on imports. China, the world’s biggest emitter of methane, has pledged to include the gas in its national climate plan for the first time. Stopping methane leaks would be a quicker step towards slowing global warming, but what’s missing is a commitment from the industry’s major energy companies. According to Time, Sultan Ahmed Al Jaber put strong pressure on major companies to reduce methane emissions.

Protect the environment of vulnerable countries

Another much-discussed point is about climate finance. Developing countries claim that nearly a hundred billion dollars of funding has been agreed to be paid to you by 2020. The promise was not kept. There was talk of a “loss and damage” fund at Cop27 in Egypt, but despite World Bank intervention the structure has not yet been funded. The most vulnerable countries, such as the Pacific Islands or some African countries, are often those that produce the least emissions. Considering the natural disasters that have brought many parts of the world to their knees, funds are considered to be insufficient. During COP28, Brussels may announce some special funds to alleviate these problems and support renewable energy sources in some “poor” but other resource-rich countries; As the host country, the United Arab Emirates wants to launch a $25 billion global financing fund. Money from oil wealth.

Disagreement over timing

The third point is the most problematic and concerns the pace at which countries plan to move towards reducing or eliminating fossil fuels. One battleground will concern the acceptability or otherwise of “mitigation” technologies that allow the capture and storage of greenhouse gas emissions, the positive effects of which have not yet been confirmed. To accept them, as the European Union has already foreseen by appealing to the carbon sinks represented by agriculture and forests, means continuing to allow the use of fossil fuels and focusing on forms of “compensation” that are not very convincing compared to the rate at which fossil fuels are used. The crisis is advancing the climate. Considering that fossil fuels constitute 80% of the world’s energy supply, it is equally unthinkable at the moment to think that they will disappear in a short time. Even in 2050, when the European Union plans to reach its zero emissions target, we will still have to deal with these sources, albeit on a much smaller scale.

Cut funding for fossil fuels

Everything will depend on the efforts to invest in alternatives, but above all on whether we start thinking about a less energy-intensive lifestyle. An option that seems far removed from the mindset of growth-obsessed leaders. The International Energy Agency (IEA) launched a call to reduce financing for fossil fuels in November. Otherwise, it will be impossible to achieve the goals set by the 2015 Paris Agreement, and it becomes urgent to halve the 800 billion dollars invested in the oil and gas sector every year. If the target of limiting global warming to 1.5 degrees Celsius is to be achieved, this must be done by 2030, IEA experts wrote in a report, underlining that the industry must reduce emissions by 60% by 2030 to comply with this target.

Source: Today IT