The oil industry must be part of the solution to the impacts of climate change

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Thank you to our hosts for their gracious hospitality and to Minister Carolina Schmidt for valiantly managing the Presidency of COP 25. I grew up in Yola, Adamawa State, Nigeria. There, even today, keeping the lights on in our houses, insulating our homes or accessing clean water ̶ amenities taken for granted by many countries ̶ are beyond the reach of the most vulnerable in our communities.

Sadly, this is a situation experienced in many developing countries. The almost one billion people worldwide who currently lack access to electricity and the three billion without modern fuels for cooking are not just statistics on a page. They are real people. Each one is an individual.

Fuel poverty is not an abstract concept; rather it is a profound challenge for sustainable development. It is an all-too brutal reality for hungry families living in the cold or dark, for the millions of children currently attending schools without power, and for many hospitals without reliable energy. Nobody should be left behind by the energy transition. The United Nations’ SDG 7 ensures access to affordable, reliable, sustainable and modern energy for all – not for just some.

At OPEC, we listen extensively to the scientists. We wholeheartedly support the Paris Agreement and the ethos of multilateralism that underpins it. The core elements of the Convention, particularly historical responsibility and national circumstances must be adhered to. We recognize the complexity and magnitude of climate change we are living in our countries. There is no panacea for global warming. All viable mitigation and adaptation measures are necessary. Technological innovation, including Carbon Capture and Sequestration technologies (CCUS), enhanced investment for energy access, and improved energy efficiency must be part of the solution. The oil industry is committed to all of these. The oil industry must be part of the solution to the impacts of climate change. We reject the misleading narrative of an energy transition from one source to another. The energy transition must be holistic, inclusive, fair and equitable in accordance with the core UNFCCC principle of common but differentiated responsibilities and respective capabilities.

–          Being the presentation delivered by HE Mohammad Sanusi Barkindo, OPEC Secretary General, at the UN Climate Change Conference (COP 25/CMP 15/CMA 2), 10 December 2019, Madrid, Spain.

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