Barkindo: why oil and renewable energy sources must coexist

Mohammad Barkindo

* Says 600 million Africans without reliable electricity

Emmanuel Addeh

The Secretary General of the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC), Dr Sanusi Barkindo, on Monday lamented the growing dichotomy between opposition to fossil fuels and supporters of renewable energy sources, arguing that the two can coexist .

Speaking at the first Ministerial Roundtable on Energy, Climate and Sustainable Development, held via video conference, Barkindo said public discourse around the issue often seems to boil down to the question of whether who is for or against hydrocarbons.

Describing it as the ultimate false dichotomy, the OPEC helmsman said this line of thinking wrongly limits the options available, pointing out that the solutions require more comprehensiveness.

“No one should be left behind. All voices must be heard and listened to. We all share this planet. We need multilateralism at the center of our energy, climate and sustainable development future,” he insisted.

He added that OPEC has always been a promoter of sustainable development and efforts to combat climate change, emphasizing the need to use all solutions to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and to adapt to their impact, while guaranteeing access to energy for all. .

“I have witnessed energy poverty in my home continent of Africa, where over 600 million people have little or no access to electricity and 900 million lack safe and clean cooking fuels.

“World leaders need to be reminded that for billions of people, the day does not start with turning on a light, opening a refrigerator or turning on the ignition of a car. Access to affordable and reliable modern energy is essential for all.

“Some believe that the oil and gas industries should not be part of the energy future, that they should be relegated to the past and that the future is one that can be dominated by renewable energy and electric vehicles. We must counter this evolving narrative,” he explained.

He argued that what the science and statistics of the energy sector say is that the world must reduce emissions and use energy more efficiently through innovation in the development of cleaner technological solutions. and more effective in helping to reduce emissions.

He pointed out that, for example, carbon capture, use and storage (CCUS) as well as the promotion of the circular carbon economy (CCE) could improve overall environmental performance, rather than the call to abandon all fossil fuels.

“In order not to make countries already in difficulty even more besieged, it is necessary to carefully examine the negative socio-economic impacts on these countries due to mitigation activities, in order to identify corrective measures and share the best practices.

“In this regard, financing is essential to achieve the climate goals set out in the Nationally Determined Contributions (NDCs) of developing countries. There has been a lot of talk about funding issues from developed countries, but so far a disappointing number of commitments have been made,” he added.

Barkindo called on proponents of the global energy transition to note that COVID-19 has made circumstances more difficult for oil-producing developing countries, which are already facing devastating losses that could accompany mitigation and recovery measures. ‘adaptation.

“Oil and gas development and the environment have often been seen as the antithesis of each other, and yet, as we all know, that is not the case. The two can go hand in hand,” he argued.

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