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The leading executives of the fossil fuel industry ridicule attempts to transition away from reliance on oil and gas.
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The leading executives of the fossil fuel industry ridicule attempts to transition away from reliance on oil and gas.

The chief executives of top oil and gas corporations have criticized attempts to shift away from fossil fuels, arguing that the move towards clean energy is progressing too quickly and is not feasible.

During the annual Cera Week conference in Houston, Texas, oil industry leaders have been speaking out against demands for a quick elimination of fossil fuels. This stance is in contrast to the general consensus among the industry, as well as scientists and governments, that drastic measures must be taken to decrease greenhouse gas emissions and mitigate the devastating impacts of the climate crisis.

Amin Nasser, CEO of Saudi Aramco, the leading oil company worldwide, received applause as he advocated for investing in oil and gas rather than attempting to phase them out.

Nasser rejected the forecasts of the International Energy Agency (IEA) which suggest that the global need for oil and gas will reach its highest point by 2030. He argued that the rising prices of energy will result in a greater demand for “oil and gas security” instead of a shift towards renewable options.

Nasser criticized the minimal impact of solar, wind, and electric vehicles in reducing greenhouse gas emissions, stating that the current transition strategy is largely unsuccessful in the real world.

Nasser voiced his frustration that despite our significant contribution to economic success on a global scale, our industry is often negatively portrayed as the enemy of progress.

Other prominent leaders at the conference, which brings together industry leaders and politicians in the oil-rich region of Texas, also expressed doubts. Meg O’Neill, CEO of Woodside Energy, believes that the shift towards cleaner energy cannot be rushed and may take up to four decades to fully develop.

O’Neill mentioned that the climate debate has taken on a highly emotional tone, making it challenging to have a practical discussion.

“If we rush or if things go the wrong way, we’ll have a crisis that we will never forget,” warned Jean Paul Prates, chief executive of Petrobras, Brazil’s state-owned oil corporation, about the shift to clean energy.

The climate activists quickly condemned the comments.

According to Jeff Ordower, North America director of 350.org, those in the industry are actively working against the transition to renewable energy and then have the nerve to criticize the slow pace of the transition. Cera Week should focus on promoting a global goal of a clean and fair future, but instead, we are hearing outdated and unhelpful talking points.

Ordower cautioned against putting trust in solutions endorsed by the industry, stating that their true intentions to address the climate crisis are questionable.

The theme of the conference is centered around the concept of a multi-faceted and diverse energy transition, including various speeds and sources of fuel. It is taking place amidst the backdrop of major oil and gas companies changing their plans to limit production and reducing their goals to reduce greenhouse gases, despite enjoying high profits.

The CEO of Exxon, Darren Woods, recently stated that the public is not willing to fund a world with reduced carbon pollution. Instead, at Cera Week, he emphasized the potential of carbon capture and hydrogen technologies, which the industry views as suitable options for government subsidies without posing a threat to the primary business of oil and gas extraction.

Experts agree that in order to prevent severe heatwaves, droughts, floods, and other consequences of climate change, the world must reach a state of zero net emissions by the middle of this century. Currently, there is no technology that can completely solve the main issue of reducing the consumption of oil, gas, and coal.

The International Energy Agency (IEA) states that the fossil fuel industry has little impact on investing in clean energy and predicts that oil and gas usage must decrease by over 75% by 2050 to adhere to the agreed-upon goal of limiting global warming to 1.5C above pre-industrial levels.

It would be necessary to reduce the significant growth of gas infrastructure along the Gulf of Mexico coast in the United States. The Biden administration has attempted to decrease this by halting any new exports of liquid natural gas from these facilities. Yet, during Cera Week, Jennifer Granholm, the energy secretary, stated that this pause will no longer be a concern in a year.

Climate activists in Houston expressed their concerns about the industry’s true intentions at the conference. On Tuesday, they held a mock funeral march to highlight the impact of oil and gas development on communities.

According to Josh Eisenfeld, the campaign manager for corporate accountability at Earthworks, it is evident from their actions that they are not dedicated to decreasing emissions. In fact, they have attended Cera Week with the intention of further promoting fossil fuel production and extraction, and obstructing the transition towards a fair and environmentally-friendly energy future.

According to Aly Tharp, a member of GreenFaith, organizers intentionally prevented activists from signing up for the event, forcing them to express their disapproval outside of the location.

The speaker expressed a sense of responsibility to interrupt the ongoing contamination of our Earth due to the use of fossil fuels. They emphasized the importance of acknowledging and comprehending these detrimental effects rather than ignoring them in discussions.

Source: theguardian.com