Oil giant led by COP28 boss to spend $1 billion a month on fossil fuels this decade: Global Witness

Sultan Al Jaber, chief government of the UAE’s Abu Dhabi Nationwide Oil Firm (ADNOC) and president of this yr’s COP28 local weather summit gestures throughout an interview as a part of the seventh Ministerial on Local weather Motion (MoCA) in Brussels on July 13, 2023.

Francois Walschaerts | Afp | Getty Photos

UAE oil large ADNOC — run by the president of the COP28 local weather convention — is anticipated to spend greater than $1 billion each month this decade on fossil fuels, in keeping with new evaluation by worldwide NGO World Witness.

That is almost seven occasions greater than its dedication to decarbonization initiatives over the identical timeframe, the analysis says.

ADNOC, which not too long ago grew to become the primary amongst its friends to carry ahead its net-zero ambition to 2045, disputes World Witness’ evaluation and says the assumptions made are inaccurate.

It comes forward of the COP28 local weather summit, with Dubai set to host the U.N.’s annual convention from Nov. 30 by to Dec. 12. Seen as probably the most vital local weather conferences since 2015’s landmark Paris Settlement, COP28 will see international leaders collect to debate how you can progress within the combat towards the local weather disaster.

The individual overseeing the talks, Sultan al-Jaber, is chief government of ADNOC (the Abu Dhabi Nationwide Oil Firm) — one of many world’s largest oil and fuel corporations. His place as each COP28 president and ADNOC CEO prompted dismay amongst civil society teams and U.S. and EU lawmakers, though a number of authorities ministers have since defended his appointment.

World Witness’ evaluation, offered solely to CNBC, discovered that ADNOC is planning to spend a median of $1.14 billion a month on oil and fuel manufacturing alone between now and 2030 — the identical yr during which the U.N. says the world should lower emissions by 45% to keep away from international disaster.

It signifies that ADNOC is forecast to spend almost seven occasions extra on fossil fuels by to 2030 than it does on “low-carbon answer” initiatives.

By 2050, the yr during which the U.N. says all the world financial system should obtain net-zero emissions, ADNOC is projected to have invested $387 billion in oil and fuel. The burning of fossil fuels is the chief driver of the local weather emergency.

A spokesperson at ADNOC advised CNBC through e-mail: “The evaluation of, and assumptions made, relating to ADNOC’s capital expenditure program past the corporate’s present five-year marketing strategy (2023 to 2027) are speculative and subsequently incorrect.”

The Abu Dhabi vitality group introduced in January this yr that it will allocate $15 billion for funding in “low-carbon options” by 2030, together with investments in clear energy, carbon seize and storage and electrification initiatives.

Excessive-rise tower buildings alongside the central Sheikh Zayed Street in Dubai on July 3, 2023.

Karim Sahib | Afp | Getty Photos

World Witness arrived at its projections by analyzing ADNOC’s forecasted oil and fuel capital expenditure, exploratory capital expenditure and operational expenditure for the interval from 2023 to 2050. The info was sourced from Rystad Power’s UCube database.

Rystad’s knowledge will not be accessible to the general public, however is broadly used and referenced by main oil and fuel firms and worldwide our bodies.

“Fossil fuels firms wish to burnish their inexperienced credentials, but they hardly ever say the quiet half out loud: that they proceed to throw eyewatering quantities on the standard polluting oil and fuel that’s accelerating the local weather disaster,” stated Patrick Galey, senior investigator at World Witness.

“How [al-Jaber] can anticipate to lecture different nations on the necessity to decarbonise and be taken severely is anybody’s guess, whereas he continues to supply vastly extra funding to grease and fuel than to renewable options,” he added.

“He’s a fossil gasoline boss, plain and easy, saying one factor whereas his firm does the opposite,” Galey stated.

The United Nations Framework Conference on Local weather Change didn’t instantly reply to a request for touch upon the evaluation performed by World Witness. The Convention of the Events (COP) is the supreme decision-making physique of the UNFCCC.

Most important precedence for COP28

Al-Jaber was the founding CEO of Abu Dhabi state-owned renewable vitality agency Masdar, which works in additional than 40 international locations worldwide and has invested in or dedicated to put money into renewable vitality initiatives with a complete worth of over $30 billion.

Talking earlier this yr, al-Jaber stated the principle precedence for the COP28 summit shall be to maintain alive the combat to restrict international heating to 1.5 levels Celsius.

The Paris Settlement goals to restrict the rise within the international common temperature to “effectively beneath” 2 levels Celsius above pre-industrial ranges and to pursue efforts to restrict international heating to 1.5 levels Celsius. Past the essential temperature threshold of 1.5 levels Celsius, it turns into extra doubtless that small modifications can set off dramatic shifts in Earth’s total life assist system.

The Worldwide Power Company says no new oil, fuel or coal growth is appropriate with the aim of curbing international heating to 1.5 levels Celsius.

In response to a request for remark from CNBC, an ADNOC spokesperson stated that vitality demand is growing because the world’s inhabitants is increasing. “All the present vitality transition situations, together with by the IEA, present that some stage of oil and fuel shall be wanted into the longer term,” the spokesperson stated.

“As such, it can be crucial that, along with accelerating investments in renewables and decrease carbon vitality options, we contemplate the least carbon intensive sources of oil and fuel and additional scale back their depth to allow a good, equitable, orderly, and accountable vitality transition. That is the method ADNOC is taking,” they added.

The spokesperson stated its 2022 upstream emissions knowledge confirmed the vitality group as one of many least carbon-intensive producers worldwide. The corporate will search to additional scale back its carbon depth by 25% and goal close to zero methane emissions by 2030, they added.

“As we scale back our emissions, we’re additionally ramping up investments in renewables and 0 carbon energies like hydrogen for our prospects,” the spokesperson stated.

A separate report revealed in April final yr by World Witness and Oil Change Worldwide discovered that 20 of the world’s greatest oil and fuel firms had been projected to spend $932 billion by the tip of the last decade to develop new oil and fuel fields.

At the moment, Russian state firm Gazprom was estimated to spend essentially the most on fossil gasoline growth and exploration initiatives by to 2030 ($139 billion), adopted by U.S. oil majors ExxonMobil ($84 billion) and Chevron ($67 billion).

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