Thursday, February 29, 2024
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In the midst of the U.N.’s COP28 climate conference in Dubai, Majid Jafar, CEO of UAE-based energy firm Crescent Petroleum, dismissed the notion of solely blaming the oil and gas industry for the climate crisis, likening it to blaming farmers for obesity. As calls intensify at the conference for heads of state to commit to a fossil fuel phase-out, Jafar emphasized that societal consumption is the root issue. While acknowledging the need for a transition to cleaner energy technologies, he asserted that oil and gas would remain integral during this transition.

Jafar’s comments follow COP28’s initial days, marked by various pledges, including a commitment by approximately 50 oil and gas companies to reduce methane emissions from their operations by 2030. U.N. Secretary-General António Guterres commended this step but noted it fell short of the necessary actions. In response, Jafar defended the role of oil and gas in the transition, suggesting a practical approach to address the broader energy trilemma of sustainability, affordability, and availability.

Critics have long scrutinized the presence of Big Oil at U.N. climate talks, questioning the influence of fossil fuel lobbyists. However, some, like former U.S. Energy Secretary Ernest Moniz, advocate for the inclusion of energy giants in such events. The International Energy Agency (IEA) recently warned the fossil fuel industry, emphasizing the need for a transformative commitment to meet global energy needs and climate goals amid the worsening climate crisis. Jafar urged a cleaner approach to oil and gas production while acknowledging the ongoing reliance on fossil fuels worldwide.

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