The debate around how to best address climate challenges is plagued by dogma and emotion. It is critical that policymakers’ efforts are supported by scientific and objective research and based on a careful and balanced study of evidence and facts.
It is becoming increasingly clear that hydrocarbons will be used not only to fuel the global energy system, particularly for the developing world and the Global South, but also for developed countries for the foreseeable future.
The economic cost of the transition to purely renewable energy, not to mention the pace and scale required to displace oil, gas, and even coal in the energy mix, is prohibitive based on most reasonable assessments of the next 20 years.
It is often the case that the energy source and technology choices for producing energy are conflated with the real enemy: greenhouse gas emissions. A pragmatic approach to combating emissions will focus on incorporating all available solutions to help save the environment.
With the upcoming COP28 meeting, the world’s annual gathering that takes stock of commitments made in the Paris Agreement, planned to be held in Dubai later this year, oil and gas producers have a unique opportunity to engage meaningfully in the dialogue around climate solutions.
Momentum is building among oil and gas producers, with an alliance of governments called the Net-Zero Producer’s Forum offering an opportunity for these countries to work together. The NPF includes governments from the US, Saudi Arabia, Qatar, Norway, the UAE, and Canada.
Collectively representing 45 percent of the global oil production and 40 percent of natural gas production, the NPF governments are working together to achieve net-zero emissions.
These countries are working cooperatively to develop net-zero emission strategies, focusing on methane abatement, implementing the circular carbon economy, developing and deploying carbon capture and storage technologies as well as diversifying away from a reliance on hydrocarbon revenues, and taking other measures in line with each country’s national circumstances.
A new global alliance of think tanks have come together to support these governments by providing a reasoned and objective approach to the issues. Behind the scenes, a group of nine think tanks from the NPF countries and globally have been working throughout 2023 to develop an independent assessment of the net-zero pathways for each of the NPF countries, and to provide evidence-based recommendations for how oil and gas producers can achieve net-zero emissions and ensure they are part of the solution that we all need.
At the MENA Climate Week, being held in Riyadh, we will be publicly announcing this effort, called the Net-Zero Knowledge Consortium.
In early December, during COP28, the NKC will be releasing its first report highlighting the work conducted over the course of 2023. Free from the constraints faced by governments in discussions with their foreign counterparts, the NKC will act as a very useful forum to have blunt and candid discussions among researchers from oil and gas producing countries.
This nongovernment dialogue is intended to produce an independent view of potential solutions, free of political influence and agendas. Think tanks, by their nature, operate best when they can interact with each other and conduct their work without the pressure of political considerations.
Because they engage around research-based findings, think tanks can often make more progress, more rapidly, than government representatives, and then provide a collective recommendation to support the decision-makers.
This article appeared on Arab News