Friday, October 14, 2016

Visions Clash at World Energy Congress in Istanbul

The World Energy Council gave out a clear message at the World Energy Congress that took place this week in Istanbul:  the world needs to move away from fossil fuels much faster than it is doing today.  That contrasted sharply with the message given out by most of the high-level speakers from government and business at the Congress, who stressed that the world needs more oil and gas.  Mohammad Barkindo, the new Secretary General of oil cartel OPEC even warned that oil should not be “discriminated” against.  Energy Post’s editor in chief Karel Beckman reports on the clashing visions in Istanbul.

The World Energy Congress is not just any event.  Taking place every three years, organised by the World Energy Council, it is one of the biggest energy conferences in the world, and one of the most “high-level” – if you regard energy ministers and CEO’s of multinationals as “high-level”.
Stranded assets
On the first day of the Congress, the World Energy Council gave out an official statement with a wake-up call to the fossil fuel sector, under the heading of the New Realities for Energy.  It said, among other things:  “We haven’t done enough to decarbonize our economies:  the world will have to accelerate the decarbonization of the global GDP to a rate of 6%/yr in order to remain within the carbon budget associated with 2C global warming.  This will take considerable effort since with current trends we could reach and surpass the carbon budget between 2045 and 2055, even with optimistic assumptions on energy intensity reductions.  The Nationally Determined Contributions (NDCs) agreed at COP21 provide about 1/3rd of the required ambition level.”

Amin Nasser, CEO Saudi Aramco (Photo Credit: World Energy Congress) Click to Enlarge.
World Energy Council pointedly added that the “biggest obstacle” in achieving the climate goal is “the rapid and successful transitioning of global transport to low carbon solutions.”

Christoph Frei, Secretary General of the World Energy Council, made the point even clearer in an interview that appeared in a newspaper distributed at the Congress. “If you look at how much we have in proven reserves globally”, he said, “this equates to about 2800 gigatonnes of carbon dioxide emissions.  The carbon budget we have [to maintain global temperature rise to within two degrees Celsius] is 1,000 gigatonnes.”
Amin Nasser, CEO of Saudi Aramco, the world’s biggest oil producer, said his company would invest $300 billion over the next ten years in new oil and gas projects
This Grand Transition, said the World Energy Council statement, “will impact the economic foundation of both nation states and businesses”  and “lead to a “rebalancing across regions and sectors: … The next decade will begin to define the winners and losers of the energy transformation”.

Read more at Visions Clash at World Energy Congress in Istanbul

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