Fossil fuel advocates steal spotlight in UAE climate change talks
As the world aims to lessen reliance on fossil fuels and investments in that sector, many backers of the sector are calling for increasing the investments.
Climate change talks in Dubai addressed the threats of the phenomenon - or perhaps at least acknowledged that there must be a shift away from fossil fuel toward more sustainable, safer, and more green sources of power to curb the effects of the crisis that have brought upon humanity ravaging effects as temperatures keep increasing.
The divisive issue here lies in the means and timetable for achieving this pivot, as fossil fuel producers, such as the host of the summit itself, underlined the importance of increasing investments in oil and gas instead of decreasing those and opting for greener means.
"We definitely at this time need to include all available resources," UAE Energy Minister Suhail Al-Mazrouei told an energy forum in Dubai. Al-Mazrouei's words were in light of a global fuel crisis exacerbated by the war in Ukraine and the sanctions imposed on Russia, not to mention the issues that have been facing energy supplies since the world started recovering from the COVID-19 pandemic that had the global economy as a whole sitting on the bench.
"We cannot ignore or say we are going to abandon certain production. It's just not the right time, whatever reason you have," he claimed, reflecting concerns over the pivotal sector his country practically uses as an economic crutch. However, he explained his point of view by saying that it would make prices too high for millions around the world.
Fossil fuel backers have tried to be in the spotlight throughout the forum in Dubai, seeking to have a part in the conversation about climate change and its devastating effects on the planet.
OPEC Secretary-General Mohammad Sanusi Barkindo, in a bid to reassure those worrying about the effects mitigating climate change would have on their industries, said that in the upcoming UN climate talks in Egypt, COP27, and the UAE, COP28, producers could address the issues around "inclusiveness" to assure that their sectors are not left behind as the globe shifts toward a greener future.
Limiting global temperature increases to no more than 1.5 degrees Celsius, according to the head of the biggest oil-producing bloc, and the role of oil and gas "are not mutually exclusive."
Currently, Earth is 1.1 degrees C hotter than preindustrial levels, and that has caused drastic changes. Drought, floods, and storms amplified by rising sea levels have been ravaging our planet, rendering it nearly uninhabitable, and that is only the tip of the melting iceberg, for it will only become worse.
"Governments' planned coal production will vastly exceed global levels consistent with limiting warming to 1.5°C — by 240% in 2030 and by 450% in 2040," a United Nations report said earlier.
To bolster the argument, those calling for more investments in fossil fuels used the current high prices of energy resources to "prove" the global demand for oil, though the issue at hand is due to the aforementioned Ukraine crisis and the Western sanctions on a prominent exporter of oil and gas - Russia.
Throughout the forum, many have nearly ridiculed countries like the United States and the United Kingdom for calling for decreasing investments in fossil duel while pleading for exporting countries to pump more fuel to mitigate soaring energy prices.
The United Nations Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change and other international bodies had stressed the need to shift from investing in fossil fuel infrastructure and to try and lessen reliance on those fuels seeing as they are the main driver of the crisis.
The International Renewable Energy Agency reiterated the UN's words in a 350-page report this week, urging the world to rake radical action and invest $5.7 trillion each year through the end of the decade to pivot toward alternatives to fossil fuels. At the same time, the agency said investments of $700 billion should be diverted away from the fossil fuel sector each year.