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Oil should be part of climate change solution – OPEC

While a global movement is massing against fossil fuels with financiers holding off investments and governments announcing bans to car engines powered by petrol, the world’s biggest oil cartel insists oil should be part of the solution.

The Organisation of Petroleum Exporting Countries on Monday held its First Ministerial Roundtable on Energy, Climate and Sustainable Development virtually under the framework of the Charter of Cooperation (CoC), insisting that oil can be part of a sustainable climate change solution.

“The meeting highlighted that the oil industry possesses the expertise and technologies to support sustainable energy systems and should be an integral part of innovative and sustainable solutions to climate change,” OPEC said in a release after the meeting.

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The meeting was attended by ministers, senior officials, high-level decision and policymakers, and industry experts from OPEC Member Countries and non-OPEC oil producing countries participating in the CoC, India and many other international organizations.

Participants recognized that energy plays a key role in contributing significantly to the achievement of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), especially SDG7, at a time when billions of people in developing countries are deprived of access to reliable and affordable modern energy.

While the group acknowledged that climate change is one of the greatest challenges at the present and its impact is felt by both developed and developing countries, and the livelihoods of populations, it only calls for leveraging every energy system.

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“The meeting highlighted the need to use all sources of energy, all available technologies, such as carbon capture, utilization and storage (CCUS), as well as the promotion of the Circular Carbon Economy (CCE) platform, for the attainment of SDG7 and emission reductions,” notes OPEC.

They also insisted that a balanced, inclusive and multilateral approach to enhance global efforts to achieve objectives related to climate change and sustainable development, and the need to embrace the principles of equity and ‘common-but-differentiated responsibilities and respective capabilities’ are required to deal with climate change.

The oil industry has been at loggerheads with environmental activists who are calling for cleaner energy to tackle the impact of climate change. Even members of the board of oil majors including Shell, ExxonMobil and Chevron have had to contend with mutiny in the ranks of their shareholders urging them to cut emissions.

OPEC which comprises 13 countries including Nigeria have members from developing countries who may suffer the worst impacts of climate change even though they account for the least pollution. This position by OPEC will put the oil cartel in the cross hairs of climate activists.

Participants at the meeting harped on the need to provide adequate, predictable and fair support to developing countries to enhance their adaptation and mitigation actions, a key concern of developing countries.

The meeting underscored the importance of international cooperation, dialogue and multilateralism to address the global challenge of climate change in the pursuit of sustainable development objectives and efforts to eradicate energy poverty, in light of national circumstances and capabilities.

The participants additionally discussed various topics, including the ‘Saudi Green Initiative’ and the ‘Middle East Green Initiative’ introduced by the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, as well as the latest developments and critical issues related to COP26 planned for 31 October to 12 November in Glasgow, UK and the UN High-level Dialogue on Energy scheduled to take place on 24 September 2021.

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