February 25, 2024

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ExxonMobil CEO urges COP28 climate summit to focus on emissions

ExxonMobil CEO urges COP28 climate summit to focus on emissions

  • The “problem statement” that countries need to focus on at the COP28 climate summit is reducing emissions, ExxonMobil CEO Darren Woods said on Saturday.
  • For many at the summit, COP28 can only be recognized as a success if it leads to an agreement to “phase out” all fossil fuels.
  • “I think what society should focus on is the real problem here, which is emissions,” Woods told CNBC at the UN conference.

DUBAI, United Arab Emirates – ExxonMobil CEO Darren Woods said on Saturday that the “problem statement” countries need to focus on at the COP28 climate summit is cutting emissions, in contrast to calls for a collective commitment to phase out all fuels. Fossil.

For many at the summit, being held in the United Arab Emirates, COP28 can only be recognized as a success if it leads to an agreement to “phase out” all fossil fuels, the burning of which is the main cause. The main driver of the climate crisis.

The language of the final agreement, expected by or near the end of the conference on December 12, will be closely watched. A “phase-out” commitment would likely require a shift away from fossil fuels until their use is eliminated, while a “phasing-out” could signal a reduction in their use – but not the absolute end.

There is also an ongoing debate over whether the agreement should focus on “diluted” fossil fuels, which are captured and stored using carbon capture and storage technologies, or “unlimited” fossil fuels, which Pretty much understandable To be produced and used without significant reductions in the amount of greenhouse gases emitted.

When asked by CNBC’s Steve Sedgwick at the UN Climate Change Conference (COP28) whether the wrong scenario would be for countries to agree to phase out diluted fossil fuels, Woods replied: “I think what society should focus on is the problem.” “The real thing here is emissions.”

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He continued: “The challenge here is to eliminate emissions.” “How we do that will depend on where the technology goes, what the conditions are, and where those emissions come from.”

In a speech to world leaders on Friday, UN Secretary-General António Guterres was clear in his call for an immediate halt to the burning of fossil fuels, in order to prevent the worst effects of the climate crisis.

“We cannot save a burning planet with a fossil fuel hose,” Guterres said. “A 1.5 degree limit will only be possible if we eventually stop burning all fossil fuels. Not reducing it. Not mitigating it. Phasing out – with a clear time frame in line with 1.5 degrees.”

However, not everyone supports calls to phase out fossil fuels. It has already been to Russia He said It will oppose the use of this language in the final agreement, while the COP28 host country, the United Arab Emirates, has done so instead. pointed out Its preference is for “tapering”.

Darren Woods, Chairman and CEO of ExxonMobil, during the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) CEO Summit in San Francisco, California, US, on Wednesday, November 15, 2023. Executives from major multinational companies converge on On the sidelines of the APEC summit in San Francisco this week to meet with Chinese President Xi Jinping and other Asian leaders, where long-frothy US-China relations show only tentative signs of improvement. Photographer: David Paul Morris/Bloomberg via Getty Images

Bloomberg | Bloomberg | Getty Images

“I don’t think there’s a one-size-fits-all solution. I actually think part of the thing that has slowed us down is the focus on making incremental change and getting out of our current energy system and starting something completely new. This is going to be a long, expensive process and it’s going to be “Very expensive.”

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“Instead, what we should be looking at is how do we move from where we are today to a future with lower emissions, and that involves incremental changes in some areas. That certainly includes wind, solar and energy.” [electric vehicles]But it also involves decarbonizing what we currently have.”

Woods said there are now options to start reducing the carbon intensity of current technologies “at a much lower cost.”

“So, stay focused on the emissions problem statement. Keep your mind open to a variety of different solutions and make sure the work everyone is doing is focused on the areas of strength where we can get the most reductions the fastest,” he added.

Executives at major oil companies have previously sought to defend their core business model in the face of climate criticism, saying it is not possible to keep everyone happy during the transition away from fossil fuels. Likewise, officials in major oil-producing countries, including the UAE, have called for energy security and affordability of fossil fuel use while shifting toward the exclusive use of green energy.

‘So, it’s always been a debate here, and I remember an old saying: ‘If you want to keep everyone happy, sell ice cream,’ Tengku Mohd Taufik, president and CEO of Malaysia’s state energy company Petronas, said in early October. “We’re not in the ice cream business, and I remember there were people who were lactose intolerant.”

Exxon announced in mid-October that it had agreed to buy rival Pioneer Natural Resources for $59.5 billion in an all-stock deal. The agreement was Exxon’s largest acquisition since it acquired Mobil nearly 25 years ago, and was seen as leaving no doubt about its future support for fossil fuels.

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Asked about Cash “Well, the way we look at this is there is demand for oil and gas today, and there will be demand for oil and gas continuing,” said Woods, who the US oil giant has taken heat from climate activists over the Pioneer deal. forward into the future.”

An ExxonMobil gas station in Washington, DC, United States, on Tuesday, November 28, 203.

Bloomberg | Bloomberg | Getty Images

“What exactly is that level, we all have our different views on it, but as long as there is demand there, I think what the community wants is more responsible operators that meet that demand. And what we are committed to is [to] “Be the most responsible operator,” he added.

“We’ll basically be producing more oil at a lower cost, more efficiently with a lower environmental impact. That’s a win-win. And we’re improving energy security in the United States, so there’s a lot to like about this deal,” Woods said.