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The International Energy Agency estimates that gas and oil consumption must decrease by 75% by 2050.

COP28, “moment of truth” gas and oil ;trole

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A BP oil refinery on the shores of Lake Michigan, Indiana. (Archive photo)

Agence France-Presse

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“Contributing to the climate crisis” or being “part of the solution”? The oil and gas industry must make “difficult decisions now” to accelerate its transition to clean energy and reduce emissions, the International Energy Agency (IEA) urged on Thursday ) one week before COP28.

It's about choosing between contributing to a worsening climate crisis or being part of of the solution by adopting the path of clean energy, estimates the IEA in a special report devoted to the fossil industry in the energy transition.

IEA experts outline what these companies should do to make their activities consistent with the EU's most ambitious goal. Paris Agreement, namely limiting global warming to +1.5°C since the pre-industrial era.

However, to be part of this trajectory, producers would have to devote 50% of their investment expenditure to clean energy by 2030, in addition to the sums required to reduce their own emissions from their activities.

The march is high: in 2022, they have invested around 20 billion US dollars in clean energy, barely 2.5% of their total investment spending, indicates the IEA one week before the #x27;opening of COP28 in Dubai, where a battle between states over the future of fossil fuels is shaping up.

L& #x27;oil and gas industry is facing a moment of truth at COP28 in Dubai, solemnly summarized Fatih Birol, Director General of the IEA, in this report.

The sector must make tough decisions now, he insisted, as this year oil groups like BP and Shell – and Enel, as recently as Wednesday – announced a downward revision of some of their targets energy transition.

If governments continue to sit back and let every oil company tries to be the last one standing, we will all lose.

A quote from Kaisa Kosonen, Policy Coordinator at Greenpeace International

To achieve carbon neutrality in 2050, a condition for keeping the +1.5°C target within reach, the IEA estimates that oil and gas consumption must decline by more than 75%. on this horizon, which implies a considerable expansion of renewable energies.

In this scenario, the drop in demand is strong enough that no new long-term conventional oil or gas projects are necessary, the IEA reiterated, resuming one of its resounding recommendations in 2021. p>

Windows of possibility are therefore opening for this sector, but this requires a radical change in its investments.

These companies have certainly doubled their investments in clean energy in 2022, but these only represent 1.2% of total global investments in favor of decarbonization.

And 60% relies on just four “giants” (Equinor, TotalEnergies, Shell, BP), which have each dedicated around 15-25% of their investments to the transition.

The IEA's appeal is not limited to private giants, which account for less than 13% of global hydrocarbon production and reserves: nationally owned companies are also targeted. in whole or in part by States, which control more than half of world production.

For the IEA, it would also be necessary that all the sector commits to reducing emissions from its own activities by 60% by 2030.

This is a necessary step for producers to be taken seriously in climate discussions, Christophe McGlade, head of the IEA's energy supply unit, told the press. Highly anticipated topic at COP28: the fight against methane emissions, the latter representing half of these companies' operational emissions, must be a top priority, he said.

The production, transportation and processing of oil and gas causes almost 15% of global energy-related emissions, with the remainder coming from fuels burned in cars or in the heating.

The climate battle also involves, according to Fatih Birol, getting rid of the illusion according to which implausibly high quantities of captured carbon are the solution at a time when criticism is mounting against these technologies which promise to extract CO2 from the atmosphere and store it.

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