15 July 2023

Oil giant led by COP28 boss ‘to emit close to China’s annual emissions by 2050’

15 July 2023

The oil giant headed by COP28’s president will emit close to the amount China does annually between now and 2050, a new analysis suggests.

The Abu Dhabi National Oil Company (ADNOC) is on course to emit more than 11 billion tonnes of greenhouse gases in the next 25 years, according to campaign group Global Witness’ analysis of data from industry monitor Rystad Energy.

The appointment of ADNOC’s chief executive Sultan Al Jaber as the president of the UN climate conference COP28 has drawn criticism although senior figures like US climate envoy John Kerry have given their support.

Mr Al Jaber called for governments and businesses on Friday to reduce greenhouse gas emissions in all regions and sectors to limit warming from exceeding 1.5C by 2030.

He told officials from Europe, Canada and China gathered in Brussels that the world needs “to attack all emissions, everywhere” including Scope 3 – emissions from products sold that make up the majority.

But Global Witness said ADNOC also plans to produce 1.25 billion barrels of oil equivalent in 2030 – an increase of 42% on current production.

Meanwhile, its analysis suggests that the oil giant plans to produce the equivalent of more than 28 billion barrels of oil by 2050.

This means it could be on course to produce oil and gas that when burned for energy will emit 11.3 billion tonnes of CO2 equivalent – a mixture of carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gases.

By comparison, China – the world’s largest polluter – emitted 12.4 billion tonnes of CO2e in 2021, the most recent year for which data is available.

The absurdity of this would be laughable, if it wasn’t deadly serious

Alice Harrison, fossil fuels campaign leader at Global Witness, said: “Sultan Al Jaber is the boss of one of the world’s biggest fossil fuel firms, and is overseeing a massive ramp-up in its oil and gas production.

“He’s also been put in charge of global climate talks to reduce carbon emissions and avoid climate catastrophe.

“The absurdity of this would be laughable, if it wasn’t deadly serious.”

She added: “Al Jaber must be removed from the COP presidency immediately, as his interests are transparently at odds with those of the most climate vulnerable nations, and indeed with efforts to keep this planet habitable for the majority of those who live on it.”

It comes as the campaign group calls on the UN to introduce conflict of interest policies at COPs that can restrict interference from the fossil fuel lobby in international climate policy making.

ADNOC says it plans to reach net-zero emissions by 2050 or sooner although plans currently do not appear to include its Scope 3 emissions, which account for the vast majority of lifecycle emissions for fossil fuels.

The company also plans to have a Carbon Capture and Storage (CCUS) capacity of five million tonnes annually by 2030.

But Global Witness says in the same year its oil and gas produces will produce some 495 million tonnes of CO2e – close to 100 times more than it will be able to sequester.

ADNOC and COP28 have been contacted for comment.

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