July 18, 2024

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UN climate talks focus too much on renewable energy, ExxonMobil chief says

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UN climate talks on how to limit global warming have focused on renewable energy for too long, according to the chief executive of ExxonMobil, the biggest western oil supermajor.

In an interview with the Financial Times at COP28 in Dubai on Saturday, Darren Woods said that talks on the energy transition had concentrated on “the electron solution”, while neglecting the role to be played by hydrogen, biofuels and carbon capture.

“The transition is not limited to just wind, solar and EVs,” said Woods. “Carbon capture is going to play a role. We’re good at that. We know how to do it, we can contribute. Hydrogen will play a role. Biofuels will play a role.”

It is the first time an Exxon chief executive has attended the event, and his presence has prompted climate experts to criticise the industry’s continued efforts to delay action and its oversized influence at the UN summit.

In Dubai, a group of countries are pushing for a global agreement to phase out fossil fuels to achieve the Paris accord goal of ideally limiting the global temperature rise to no more than 1.5°C above pre-industrial levels by 2030. 

Woods said the discussions had “put way too much emphasis on getting rid of fossil fuels, oil and gas, and not . . . on dealing with the emissions associated with them”.

He said there would be “continued demand” for oil and gas, and advocated for a “continuum where in some places you will completely replace the combustion of oil and gas and coal, and other places you’ll deal with the emissions associated with it.”

Other prominent industry bosses to attend the summit included Oxy’s Vicki Hollub, ENI head Claudio Descalzi and RWE’s Markus Krebber.

Woods said conversations on climate change had “moved away, are moving away” from “aspirational pledges and hopeful targets that are set decades…



2023-12-02 07:02:46

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