ABU DHABI: The president of the upcoming COP28 climate talks told an Abu Dhabi oil conference on Monday that the fossil fuel industry would play an essential role in addressing the climate crisis. “For too long, this industry has been viewed as part of the problem, that it’s not doing enough and in some cases even blocking progress,” said Sultan Al-Jaber, the president-designate of the COP28 talks, who is also the head of UAE state-owned oil firm ADNOC.

“This is your opportunity to show the world that, in fact, you are central to the solution,” he told the ADIPEC conference of global industry figures and government officials. “This industry can change the global debate... It is time to silence the sceptics by applying scale, capital and technology to deliver outcomes.” Jaber urged industry leaders to curb emissions associated with energy production and expand use of renewable energy sources.

He also encouraged them to embrace “low carbon solutions” like carbon capture and storage, tools that climate experts say distract from the urgent goal of slashing fossil fuel pollution. The COP28 talks will be held in Dubai from Nov 3 to Dec 12. Jaber has garnered the support of COP parties including US climate envoy John Kerry, partly by emphasizing his belief that “the phase-down of fossil fuels is inevitable” — a message he repeated on Monday. At the same time top oil executives and officials from major oil-producing countries have advocated ramped-up investment to meet demand and stave off energy shortages.

Sheikh Nemr Al-Sabah

Kuwaiti Oil Ministry Undersecretary Sheikh Nemr Fahad Al-Sabah affirmed Monday Kuwait’s commitment to agreements supporting decarbonization efforts and boosting cooperation to meet future demands, as per the leadership’s directives on heading towards renewable energy. Sheikh Nemr stated this to KUNA following ADIPEC’s opening ceremony.

The ministry official underscored the importance of such an event, saying that he is looking forward to the constructive discussions and fruitful negotiations it would promote, especially as leading figures in the sector will be in attendance. ADIPEC, sponsored by Emirati President Sheikh Mohammad bin Zayed Al-Nahyan, is a platform allowing energy sector to come together with other sectors to find solutions and arrive at future visions.

Haitham Al-Ghais, secretary general of the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC), told the conference that calls to cease fossil fuel investments were dangerous. “We see calls to stop investing in oil. We believe this is counterproductive,” he said.

“This puts countries... from Europe and many other parts of the world at risk, because the cornerstone of global economic prosperity today is energy security.” Instead, he called for investments of $600 billion per year between now and 2045 “just for the oil industry”. He added: “This is what it requires to be able to achieve energy security for Europe, for the rest of the world.” – Agencies