Sultan Ahmed Al-Jaber, COP28-designate chair, has called on the oil and gas industry to phase out methane emissions by 2030 and align in favor of comprehensive net-zero emissions plans by 2050 or sooner. As the UAE Minister of Industry and Advanced Technology and CEO of Abu Dhabi National Oil Company (ADNOC) said, as the world continues to use hydrocarbons, everything possible must be done to “reduce and ultimately eliminate carbon intensity.”

Methane emissions are among the main causes of global warming and according to the Paris-based International Energy Agency (IEA), fossil fuel operations generate more than a third of all methane emissions from human activity. Thus, action on methane is seen as one of the most effective measures the energy sector can take to mitigate climate change.

The goal of this industry and all industries is clear. We need to phase out emissions from all sectors including transport, agriculture, heavy industry and of course fossil fuels, while investing in technologies to phase out all viable carbon alternatives.”

For this to happen faster, he said, the relationship between major energy producers and consumers must be reconceived from one based solely on supply and demand to one focused on “co-creating the future”. Jaber added that developing countries must be engaged with the development and deployment of new technologies for climate action and energy transition to be effective at the global level.

“It is critical that the Global South not be left behind when we adopt new technologies. Last year, developing economies received only twenty percent of clean technology investment. These economies account for seventy percent of the world’s population, more than five billion people. Technology is essential to help The most vulnerable communities, capacity building and jump to a low carbon economic development model.

To maximize the adoption of technology in developing countries, the public, multilateral and private sectors need to “step up” climate finance, to make it “more available, easily accessible, and affordable”.

Since his appointment to lead global climate talks later this year, Jaber has repeatedly seen the role of the developing world as crucial in combating climate change, and called for efforts to ensure an inclusive energy transition and climate justice. At India Energy Week in February, Jaber touched on these issues and reassured developing countries that the UAE would push for energy and climate justice.

COP28, or the 28th United Nations Climate Change Conference, is scheduled to take place between November 30 and December 12 in the United Arab Emirates. Jaber’s appointment as chair of COP28 has caused some backlash among climate activists, given his position as CEO of a major oil company. For his part, Jaber assured that he and his team will actively listen and engage with all stakeholders globally.

At India Energy Week, Jabir suggested that the hydrocarbon industry be included as a partner in the fight against climate change, rather than an adversary. Jaber said the world still needs hydrocarbons as a bridge to a new energy system. “We cannot decouple the existing energy system before we build the new one. As such, we must reduce their carbon footprint, investing only in barrels of oil that are less carbon-intensive and continue to reduce their intensity.

Jaber has also been pushing for a rapid increase in global renewable energy capacity. In January, he called for tripling global renewable energy capacity to 11,000 gigawatts by 2030. “We must set a goal of doubling that again by 2040,” he said. “However, renewables are not the only solution and cannot be to be.” Wednesday.

Jaber added that many factories cannot only run on renewable energy and this is where solutions such as hydrogen can play an important role. But it must be scaled and commercialized to make a real impact in the energy system. And just as smart policies sent the right market signals to the renewable energy sector twenty years ago, hydrogen needs a similar boost today.”

Speaking about industrial emissions, Jaber said the world needs to “get serious” about carbon capture technologies. “In any realistic scenario that leads us to net zero (emissions), carbon capture technology will have a role to play. Without it, the math doesn’t add up.”

“Cost remains the main constraint and we need policymakers to incentivize technology companies to help commercialize all types of carbon capture… We must go further by using technology to transform carbon capture into products with practical applications and commercial value,” Jaber added.

He also emphasized the need to continue pushing for breakthroughs in battery storage, expanding nuclear energy, and investing in new energy pathways such as fusion. Jaber also urged technology companies to focus on agricultural technology, as “food systems and agriculture are the single largest source of greenhouse gases, accounting for more than a third of global emissions.”

The reporter is in Abu Dhabi for UAE Climate Tech at the invitation of the UAE Ministry of Industry and Advanced Technology, ADNOC, and Abu Dhabi Future Energy Company (Masdar).


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