Fossil fuel funders overshadow climate change talks in Dubai

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DUBAI, United Arab Emirates (AP) — A wave of summits this week in Dubai have addressed the threat of climate change, or at least acknowledged that a pivot away from fossil fuels towards cleaner energy sources is needed. to prevent temperatures from rising.

The glaring fault lines, however, hinge on when and how to get there. For fossil fuel producers, like the United Arab Emirates, which hosted the rallies, more, not less, investment is needed in oil and gas.

“At this time, we absolutely must include all available resources,” UAE Energy Minister Suhail al-Mazrouei told an energy forum in Dubai.

“We cannot ignore or say that we are going to abandon certain productions. It’s just not the right time for whatever reason you have,” he said, adding that it would make the prices too high for millions around the world.

It was a drumbeat that rang out throughout the week in Dubai, reflecting the leading voice that fossil fuel producers seek to have in the conversation on global climate change. It resonated at the Atlantic Council’s World Energy Forum, the World Government Summit and a climate week sponsored by the United Arab Emirates in partnership with the United Nations.

OPEC Secretary General Mohammad Sanusi Barkindo said at the upcoming UN climate talks, known as COP27, in Egypt and next year’s COP28 in the United Arab Emirates, producers can address issues related to “inclusivity to ensure that no sector is left behind, to address the problem of investment in the industry and to reevaluate the conversation.”

He said limiting global temperature rise to no more than 1.5 degrees C (2.7 degrees F) and the role of oil and gas “are not mutually exclusive”. This amount of warming relative to pre-industrial times is a benchmark and scientists say warming beyond that will expose people around the world to far more extreme extremes.

To drive the point home, proponents of increased fossil fuel investment have repeatedly pointed to today’s high oil and gas prices as reminders of global oil demand. There was sometimes derision almost that countries like the United Statesthe UK and others are calling for the use of fossil fuels to decline in the long term, but also pleading for more oil lower prices for consumers.

The United Nations Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change and other international bodies have stated that to combat climate change there should be no new investments in fossil fuel infrastructure and that fossil fuels , which are mainly responsible for climate change, must gradually disappear.

This was reiterated in a 350-page report released this week by the International Renewable Energy Agency which said the world needed to take “drastic action” by investing $5.7 trillion each year through 2030 to move away from fossil fuels. IRENA, headquartered in Abu Dhabi, the capital of the United Arab Emirates, said $700 billion in investment is expected to be diverted from the fossil fuel sector each year.

“The energy transition is far from on track and anything short of radical action in the coming years will diminish, if not eliminate, the chances of achieving our climate goals,” said Francesco La Camera, CEO of IRENA, when the report was published. outside.

OPEC, weighted by Saudi Arabia, predicts more oil will be needed through 2040 and beyond, particularly in Asia.

Brent is at $105 a barrel, the highest in eight years. Prices are not only good for saudi arabia oil savings and the United Arab Emirates, but also Russia, help Moscow to compensate some of the pain of US-imposed sanctions related to the war in Ukraine.

“Look what is happening today. Who is talking about climate change now? Who is talking about taking care of energy security, first and foremost?” said Saudi Energy Minister Prince Abdulaziz bin Salman, in suggestive but cautious remarks at the World Government Summit in Dubai.

Without energy security, countries will lose the means to fight climate change, he said.

Recent data shows that despite the rapid growth of renewable energy, the total emissions of gases that allow the Earth to warm go up, don’t go down, in a context of increasing energy demand and expanding use of fossil fuels.

International Monetary Fund Managing Director Kristalina Georgieva encouraged advanced economies to meet the goal of providing $100 billion a year in climate finance to developing countries. She made the remarks this week at the World Government Summit in Dubai, where she unveiled an IMF paper, “Feeling the Heat,” on climate change adaptation in the Middle East.

The argument repeatedly made by Sultan al-Jaber, who is both the United Arab Emirates’ special envoy for climate change and the managing director of Abu Dhabi’s state-owned oil company, is that the energy transition will take time. And during that time, he says, the world will need more oil and gas.

“Simply put, we cannot and should not unplug the current energy system until we have built the new one,” he said at the energy forum.

At the UN-backed Climate Week event, which took place at the sumptuous Altantis Hotel, he said pressure to divest from hydrocarbons has led to a supply crisis.

In his dual role as climate change envoy and head of ADNOC, the state-owned oil and gas company, al-Jaber symbolizes the two paths taken by the United Arab Emirates. On the one hand, the country has committed to net zero emissions within its own borders by 2050. On the other hand, it is committed to producing more oil and gas for export. The country’s commitments do not apply to emissions resulting from the combustion of this fuel.

Al-Jaber summed up this double track, saying the UAE was increasing its production capacity from what he called the “least carbon-intensive oil in the world to more than 5 million barrels per day” and its capacity 30% natural gas. Simultaneously, the UAE plans to invest $160 billion in renewable energy to achieve its net zero commitment.

Saudi Arabia, which committed to having net zero emissions by 2060, also cuts emissions nationally while pledging to keep pumping oil to the last drop. Production capacity increases come as The experience of Arab Gulf countries rising temperatures and humidity, as well as water scarcity, threaten food security and life across the Middle East.

At the UN Climate Week event, environmentally conscious attendees sipped coffee and tea and feasted on buffet lunches between panels and workshops on everything from food sustainability to water scarcity through the exchange of carbon credits.

That left 23-year-old Yara Wael from Alexandria, Egypt excited about her country’s turn to host this year’s major global climate summit, but she was also baffled. She works with Egypt’s Banlastic, which aims to end single-use plastic, and this was her first trip outside Egypt.

She pointed out how the paper cups for coffee and tea could have been biodegradable or reusable, and wondered where all the leftover food from the buffet went.

“When we organize an event about the environment or climate change, we have to think about ourselves and what we are doing now,” she said.

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Follow Aya Batrawy on Twitter at http://twitter.com/ayaelb

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The Associated Press’s climate and environmental coverage receives support from several private foundations. Learn more about AP’s climate initiative here. The AP is solely responsible for all content.

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