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File photo of an oil fired power station. Gareth Fuller/PA
International Energy Agency

Gas and oil industry faces ‘moment of truth’ ahead of COP28, report states

The report says the industry’s emissions need to drop by 60% by 2030 to keep global warning to an increase of 1.5 degrees “within reach”.

AN INTERNATIONAL REPORT says that oil and gas producers are facing a “moment of truth” to embrace a shift to clean energy or continue to deepen the climate crisis.

The global energy watchdog, the International Energy Agency (IEA), released a report on the future of fossil fuels and said oil and gas producers need to make “pivotal choices about their role in the global energy system”.

The special report was released before the United Nations climate summit, or COP28, which begins in Dubai next week, and sets out what the industry must do to align itself with the Paris Agreement.

The report says the industry’s emissions need to drop by 60% by 2030 to keep global warming to an increase of just 1.5 degrees Celsius “within reach” and would have to reduce emissions by 75% to reach the 2050 net-zero goal.

The IEA executive director Dr Fatih Birol said oil and gas producers must make “profound decisions” about their place in the energy sector.

“The industry needs to commit to genuinely helping the world meet its energy needs and climate goals – which means letting go of the illusion that implausibly large amounts of carbon capture are the solution,” Birol said.

“This special report shows a fair and feasible way forward in which oil and gas companies take a real stake in the clean energy economy while helping the world avoid the most severe impacts of climate change.”

The report says the $800 billion annual investment in the oil and gas sector is double what is needed to reach climate targets by 2030.

If acted upon, there are opportunities for the oil and gas sector to invest in technology for clean energy transitions. Still, producers would have to put 50% of their capital towards clean energy projects by 2030.

“The fossil fuel sector must make tough decisions now, and their choices will have consequences for decades to come,” Birol added.

“Clean energy progress will continue with or without oil and gas producers. However, the journey to net zero emissions will be more costly and harder to navigate if the sector is not on board.”

In 2015, the Paris Agreement called for countries to try to limit global warming to 1.5 degrees and not to allow it to surpass 2 degrees.

Currently, the world is around 1.1 degrees warmer than pre-industrial times and is already experiencing impacts of the climate crisis such as heatwaves, droughts and melting ice sheets.

The scale of recent changes to the climate are “unprecedented” over hundreds and thousands of years, according to the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), and it is “unequivocal” that human influence has warmed the atmosphere, ocean and land.

Global surface temperatures are expected to exceed 1.5 and 2 degrees unless “deep reductions” are made to emissions of carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gases.

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