OPEC says energy key to achieving SDG 7

.Cites climate change as greatest challenge

Clara Nwachukwu

The Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC), has said energy is key to achieving Sustainable Development Goal (SDG 7), targeted at affordable, reliable and clean energy, especially as billions of people in developing countries are deprived of access to reliable and affordable modern energy.

According to CDP, a carbon disclosure project, energy supply accounts for about 60% of global greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions, with only 17% of energy consumption now met with renewables.

As a result, the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), warns that renewables need to hit around 85% by 2050 to avoid the worst impacts of climate change.

In agreement, OPEC identified climate change is one of the greatest challenges of our time and its impact is felt by both developed and developing countries, and the livelihoods of populations, even as the implementation of response measures to address climate change continues to disproportionally affect developing countries, including energy-exporting countries, with significant socio-economic consequences.

OPEC at its First Ministerial Roundtable on Energy, Climate and Sustainable Development yesterday (Monday), therefore stressed “the need to use all sources of energy, all available technologies, such as carbon capture, utilization and storage (CCUS), as well as the promotion of the Circular Carbon Economy (CCE) platform, for the attainment of SDG7 and emission reductions.”

The meeting, which held via videoconference, facilitated the exchange of knowledge and expertise on emerging challenges and opportunities arising from the implementation of climate mitigation and adaptation actions, according to a statement obtained by Sustainable Economy posted on its website.

The meeting was held under the framework of the Charter of Cooperation (CoC), and provided an engaging platform for discussions on key issues related to the energy industry, including global efforts focused on addressing climate change in the context of sustainable development.

It was attended by ministers, senior officials, high-level decision and policymakers, and industry experts from OPEC Member Countries and non-OPEC oil producing countries participating in the CoC, and India.

Other attendees included many other international organizations, including African Petroleum Producers’ Organization (APPO); African Economic Conference (AEC), African Energy Commission (AFREC); African Resort Development Association (ARDA); Gas Exporting Countries Forum (GECF); International Energy Forum (IEF); and Organization of Arab Petroleum Exporting Countries (OAPEC).

There is a need to use all sources of energy, all available technologies, such as carbon capture, utilization and storage (CCUS), as well as the promotion of the Circular Carbon Economy (CCE) platform, for the attainment of SDG7 and emission reductions.

Meeting highlights

Despite its high GHG emissions, the meeting also agreed that “the oil industry possesses the expertise and technologies to support sustainable energy systems and should be an integral part of innovative and sustainable solutions to climate change.” To this end, the meeting also acknowledged that there would be a lot of resources to help oil producers from various global green initiatives. These are the ‘Saudi Green Initiative’ and the ‘Middle East Green Initiative’ introduced by the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, the United Nations (UN) High-level Dialogue on Energy, scheduled to hold on September 24 as well as the latest developments and critical issues related to COP26 planned for October 31 to November 12 in Glasgow, Scotland.

Participants also:

  • Called upon countries, at the High-level Dialogue on Energy and COP26, to consider all sources of energy without discrimination, given all the available technologies already mentioned for the attainment of SDG7 and emission reductions;
  • Stressed that a multilateral, inclusive and balanced process with the participation of all countries should be a principle approach to enhancing global efforts in achieving the long-term objectives of the Paris Agreement. The United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) is the primary international forum for negotiating global responses to climate change, and it is necessary to adhere to its principles of equity and common but differentiated responsibilities and respective capabilities (CBDR–RC);
  • Emphasized the need for the provision of adequate, predictable and commensurate support to developing countries in enhancing their adaptation and mitigation actions. The commitment by developed countries to mobilize $100 billion annually should be fulfilled, climate finance should be scaled-up and UNFCCC Parties should agree upon a new collective quantitive goal for financial support;
  • Highlighted that unresolved Paris Agreement Work Programme (PAWP) issues should be addressed in a holistic, balanced and equitable manner, ensuring that all deferred issues of the PAWP will be addressed through an inclusive process, allowing the full operationalization of the Paris Agreement;
  • Support international cooperation and partnership that are crucial to addressing the global challenge of climate change in the pursuit of sustainable development objectives and efforts to eradicate poverty, including energy poverty, and in light of the national circumstances and capabilities of developing countries.

UK coal power

Indeed, the United Kingdom (UK), which is hosting the COP26 on climate change next month, is taking advantage of “all its sources of energy without discrimination by firing more coal power as gas prices rise, even as it commits to phasing out coal power completely by 2024 to cut carbon emissions.

The BBC today reported that National Grid ESO – which is responsible for balancing the UK’s electricity supply – confirmed coal was providing 3% of national power, especially now that it offers better value than gas.

In defence of the increase in coal power, a National Grid spokesman was quoted as saying: “In balancing the electricity system, we take actions in economical order and not on the basis of generation type.

“Depending on system conditions, some power sources may be better at meeting a balancing requirement than others – so the most cost-effective solution to ensure safe, secure system operation will be sought.”

However, the Nuclear Industry Association said the decision to fire up another coal power plant highlighted the urgent need to invest in new nuclear plants.

“Otherwise, we will continue to burn coal as a fall-back and fall well short of our net zero ambitions,” the Association’s Chief Executive, Tom Greatrex, said in a statement.

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