Conflict between need for action and dependency

If mankind still wants to have a chance to limit climate change to a tolerable level, then we have to get out of fossil fuels in the medium term – above all coal and oil. Basically, there is agreement on this. However, we are still heavily dependent on oil.

Global consensus: fossil fuels on the decline

In May 2021, the International Energy Agency warned that any chance of reaching the 1.5 degree target would require an immediate halt to investment in fossil fuels. This is the only way to ensure that CO2 emissions fall to zero net by 2050. This is quite a statement considering the history of the National Energy Agency. The agency was founded after the first oil crisis in the 1970s – with the aim of ensuring the energy security of rich, oil-consuming nations.

But the IEA is not alone in its view. At the COP-26 climate conference in Glasgow this year, a coalition of states came together to agree to cut oil and gas production in the coming years. However – what a surprise – none of the main oil and gas producers can be found among these countries.

It is no longer taboo to talk about the end of the extraction of hydrocarbons during international climate summits“, Said Romai Ioualalen from the activist group Oil Change International.

Still high dependency

At 80 percent, fossil fuels still make up a high proportion of the energy consumed worldwide. At the same time, however, there is also agreement that they are a major driver of global climate change. This was also emphasized by the participating states of the COP-26 conference, which is worth mentioning because this agreement did not yet exist at the 2015 climate summit in Paris.

Meoz Ajmi, a specialist in the energy industry at the management consultancy EY, also sees a need to get rid of fossil fuels, but at the same time emphasizes that the world continues to be heavily dependent on oil. A view that the IEA also shares. According to the Agency, the demand for oil will continue to grow in the coming years. Experts assume that next year the level will be reached again as before the pandemic. This was around 100 million barrels a day. It will be some time before the world is really ready to turn its back on oil.

Oil companies are having a hard time

Ioualalen clearly criticizes the attitude of the oil companies and oil-producing nations. They are cynical and too short-term. “They’re trying to justify an unsustainable trajectory at any cost. We’re still far from a decarbonised economy, of course, but it is the energy system investments that are made today that will lead us there“Said the activist.

In any case, the big oil giants seem to be struggling to make friends with the approaching end of the oil era. But here too there has been progress. ExxonMobil and Chevron recently announced that they want to invest more in the energy transition. Experts assume that more and more investments in solar and wind energy will be ahead in 2022. In addition, an increase is also predicted in the area of ​​CO2 recovery.


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