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Al Jaber tells energy industry to defy climate sceptics

Gas flaring Reuters
Non-hydrocarbon sector will grow at 2.75%, driven by domestic demand from the construction of the North Field expansion project
  • Energy industry ‘central to solution’
  • 20 oil and gas companies on board
  • UN says emissions must reduce 43%

Cop28 president designate Sultan Al Jaber has called on the oil and gas industry to “silence the sceptics” and play a pivotal role in the race towards net zero and the fight against climate change.

Al Jaber is also minister of industry and advanced technology of the UAE and managing director and group CEO of Abu Dhabi’s state energy company Adnoc.

He was delivering the opening address at the 2023 Abu Dhabi International Progressive Energy Congress (Adipec) on Monday.

He told a packed hall of energy industry representatives that for a long time the sector has been cast as the villain in the climate challenge.

“For too long, this industry has been viewed as part of the problem, that it is not doing enough, and in some cases, even blocking progress,” he said.

He stressed that now was the opportunity “to show the world that in fact you are central to the solution”.

“In fact, this industry can change the global outcome and it is time to silence the sceptics by applying scale, capital, technology to deliver real outcomes and tangible results,” he added. 

The world’s eyes will fall on Dubai in little over seven weeks as global leaders and industry titans converge on the emirate for Cop28.

According to the United Nations’ Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, the world must reduce emissions by at least 43 percent over the next seven years to meet the climate change mitigation goals set by the 2015 Paris Agreement – when countries pledged to keep long-term average temperature increases within 1.5C.

“That is our North Star. It is, in fact, our only destination,” Al Jaber said.

He added that 250 million barrels of oil, gas and coal are consumed by economies every day and this required a “holistic transformation”.

The barrels need to be replaced or decarbonised to create a “pro-climate, pro-growth” future.

“It is a monumental task,” he said. “It is also a historic opportunity for growth and innovation. It represents the largest economic opportunity since the first industrial revolution.”

Al Jaber revealed that 20 oil and gas companies “representing all continents” have answered a call to “step up” and align around net zero by or before 2050, while also zeroing out methane emissions and eliminating routine flaring by 2030.

“It is time to turn rhetoric into results, ambitions into action, pilots into scalable projects. It is time to unite. It is time to act. And it is time to deliver,” he said.

Adipec is taking place October 2–5.