Oil companies commit to reducing methane emissions at COP28 | Climate Crisis Update


News Team

Fifty oil companies, accounting for nearly half of global production, have made a commitment to achieve near-zero methane emissions and end routine flaring in their operations by 2030. This announcement was made by Sultan al-Jaber, the president of the United Nations climate summit (COP28) held in Dubai. The pledge includes major national oil companies such as Saudi Aramco, Brazil’s Petrobras, and Sonangol from Angola, as well as multinationals like Shell, TotalEnergies, and BP.

Methane is a potent greenhouse gas that can be released at various points in the operation of an oil and gas company, from fracking to the production, transportation, and storage of natural gas. It is more than 80 times more powerful than carbon dioxide, making it a significant contributor to climate change. Al-Jaber, who is also the head of the Abu Dhabi National Oil Co, emphasized the importance of the industry’s commitment to reducing greenhouse emissions and limiting global warming.

However, environmental groups have criticized the pledge, calling it a “smokescreen” to hide the need to phase out oil, gas, and coal. Despite this, the administration of US President Joe Biden unveiled final rules aimed at cracking down on US oil and gas industry releases of methane. Additionally, several governments, philanthropies, and the private sector have mobilized $1 billion in grants to support countries’ efforts to tackle methane emissions.

Two major emitters of methane, Turkmenistan and Kazakhstan, have joined the Global Methane Pledge, a voluntary agreement by more than 150 countries to slash their methane emissions by 30 percent by 2030. The World Bank has also launched an 18-month “blueprint for methane reduction” to set up national programs aimed at cutting methane emissions from activities like rice production, livestock operations, and waste management.

In addition to methane reduction efforts, a slew of other announcements aimed at decarbonizing the energy sector were made at COP28. The US pledged $3 billion to the Green Climate Fund, which is the largest of its kind dedicated to supporting climate action in developing countries. The fund has received more than $20 billion in pledges, with the US committing an additional $3 billion. A commitment by 117 countries aims to triple renewable energy capacity worldwide by 2030 and double the annual rate of energy efficiency improvements.

Furthermore, more than 20 countries have signed a declaration aiming to triple nuclear power capacity by 2050, with US climate envoy John Kerry emphasizing the importance of nuclear power in achieving net-zero emissions by 2050. The global nuclear capacity currently stands at 370 gigawatts, and tripling that capacity by 2050 would require significant scaling-up in new approvals and finance.

In conclusion, the energy sector is making significant strides in reducing methane emissions, increasing renewable energy capacity, and expanding nuclear power capacity to achieve global climate goals. While there are criticisms and challenges, the commitment of governments, oil companies, and other stakeholders is a positive step towards addressing climate change and transitioning to cleaner energy sources.

Environment, World, Business

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