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Cop28 moots oil and gasoline initiative regardless of greenwash accusations



Critics say a give attention to simply the emissions from producing oil and gasoline not consuming it’s a distraction and that related initatives haven’t labored

The United Arab Emirates Cop28 presidency is engaged on an alliance to scale back emissions from the oil and gasoline sector. 

The UAE has been discussing an initiative, provisionally named the International Decarbonization Alliance, alongside a bunch of firm executives.

The alliance is anticipated to set a aim to succeed in web zero emissions from extracting oil and gasoline by 2050, in line with a leaked letter from Cop28’s power transition lead reported by the Monetary Occasions.

However Romain Ioualalen, a campaigner at Oil Change Worldwide, informed Local weather Residence the initiative was only a “recycling” of comparable programmes which he says haven’t amounted to a lot motion.

Most emissions ignored

Campaigners have additionally criticised the give attention to simply the emissions from producing oil and gasoline moderately than the a lot bigger emissions from the usage of fossil fuels.

Roughly 80-95% of the oil and gasoline sector’s emissions are from the usage of their merchandise however the initiative would solely goal these from extracting them.

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Producing fossil fuels damages the environment as gasoline leaks into the environment or is burned as a waste product. Most of the autos and equipment used within the {industry} are polluting too.

Comparable current alliances have the identical focus. These embody the US-led web zero producers discussion board (NZPF), the power importers and exporters on decreasing greenhouse gasoline emissions from fossil fuels and the industry-run oil and gasoline local weather initiative.

Nations cut up over fossil fuels and carbon seize

Ioualalen stated the proposed alliance is one other instance of a “tried and true tactic” of the fossil gas {industry} to hold on enterprise as common.

“They are talking about everything but the one thing that really matters in driving down emissions, which is reducing oil and gas production,” he stated. “As long as these are not the terms of discussion, it can’t be described as a legitimate effort”.

The Worldwide Vitality Company has discovered that fossil gas manufacturing ought to drop by an element of almost 4 between 2020 and 2050 if the world is to restrict world warming to 1.5C.

Denmark and Costa Rica have led an effort to get governments to finish oil and gasoline manufacturing however solely a handful of fossil fuel-producing nations have signed up.

No announcement

The Monetary Occasions reported the alliance could be mentioned in a workshop happening this week within the UAE.

On Wednesday the Cop28 president-designate Sultan Al Jaber hosted a gathering with executives from fossil fuels, monetary and tech corporations within the UAE.

Al Jaber known as on the oil and gasoline {industry} to work collectively to succeed in web zero by 2050 and web zero methane emissions by 2030.

He additionally remarked on the significance of “building up an integrated creative partnership”, however stopped wanting launching a proper alliance.

Based on a supply with information of discussions, the plans are nonetheless being developed with no clear timeline for an announcement.

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The Cop28 chief has repeated a number of instances that the oil and gasoline {industry} must be invited to the negotiating desk.

Launching his agenda final week, Al Jaber stated that he sees a task for fossil fuels “in the foreseeable future”, calling for a phase-out of “fossil fuel emissions” moderately than “fossil fuels”.

That opens the door to the continued use of fossil fuels so long as their emissions are captured by carbon seize and storage (CCS) know-how.

Business’s involvement

The Cop28 crew has been growing plans for the initiative with the World Enterprise Council for Sustainable Growth (WBCSD), a bunch of over 200 corporations together with a number of the largest oil and gasoline producers.

Peter Bakker, the group’s CEO, wrote final week that “WBCSD has been in close contact with the UAE Cop28 team to help shape the agenda”.

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He added the organisation’s efforts targeted on a “big push for decarbonization action in the oil and gas and hard-to-abate sectors through the Global Decarbonization Alliance”.

The WBCSD informed Local weather Residence the Cop28 crew is at the moment within the means of growing plans to make sure a complete strategy.

The Cop28 crew stated it could not touch upon leaked reviews.


The leaked define of the proposed Cop28 alliance bears many similarities to current web zero initiatives for the fossil fuels {industry}.

In April 2021 the US launched the Web-Zero Producers Discussion board, alongside main fossil fuels-producing nations Canada, Norway, Saudi Arabia and Qatar.

The initiative aimed to “develop pragmatic net-zero emission strategies”. This might embody stopping methane leaks and flaring, deployment of carbon seize and storage applied sciences, and diversification from reliance on hydrocarbon revenues, in line with the unique assertion.

Underwhelming outcomes

After the preliminary announcement, the initiative went quiet for almost a 12 months. Vitality ministers from the 5 taking part international locations re-launched the discussion board once more in March 2022, once they held an inaugural assembly in Houston, the USA’s oil and gasoline capital.

Fossil gas executives from Chevron, Saudi Aramco and Equinor additionally attended the assembly. The principle end result was the creation of a working group to seek out options to part out unabated fossil gas emissions.

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Two months later the United Arab Emirates joined because the sixth member of the initiative. There was no public point out of the actions of the Discussion board since then and its lead, the US Vitality Division, didn’t reply to a request for remark.

One other country-led coalition took form at Cop27 final November. The US, European Union, Japan, Canada, Norway, Singapore, and the UK dedicated once more to decreasing emissions related to fossil power manufacturing, with a specific give attention to methane.

Business’s personal alliance

The fossil gas {industry} has individually been working by itself alliance. In 2014 twelve main oil and gasoline corporations arrange the Oil and Gasoline Local weather Initiative.

Just like the Cop28 initiative, it units signatories a goal of reaching web zero emissions “from operations under their control”. However it doesn’t set a goal date.

Gasoline flaring in an oil extraction plant. Photograph: (blake.thornberry)

The emissions from producing oil and gasoline will be vital. Current satellite tv for pc knowledge reported by the Guardian revealed that Turkmenistan’s oil and gasoline infrastructure leaked extra greenhouse gasoline than the entire of the UK in 2022.

Whereas some campaigners dismiss it as a distraction, others like Clear Air Activity Drive’s methane director Jonathan Banks, help motion to scale back oil and gasoline’s direct emissions.

He informed Local weather Residence Information final April: “Reducing oil and gas methane is by far the simplest and biggest thing we could do in the next few years to dramatically reduce global warming. It’s not rocket science. We don’t have to build any fancy new technology. It’s basically plumbing.”

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