Aramco and Big Oil vow to continue fighting climate change and urge greater action amid pandemic

Several organisations have urged governments not to neglect climate policy amid the Covid-19 crisis

Vapour rises from the cooling towers of the Sasol Ltd. Secunda coal-to-liquids plant in Mpumalanga, South Africa, on Monday, Feb. 3, 2020. At 56.5 million tons of greenhouse gases a year, Secunda's emissions exceed the individual totals of more than 100 countries, including Norway and Portugal, according to the Global Carbon Atlas. Photographer: Waldo Swiegers/Bloomberg
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Chief executives of 12 oil and gas companies have urged greater focus on climate action and called on governments not to delay policy implementation during their response to the Covid-19 pandemic.

"We have heard concerns that this crisis may push oil and gas companies – and governments around the world – to delay climate action,” the chief executives of BP, Chevron, CNPC, Eni, Equinor, Exxon Mobil, Occidental, Petrobras, Repsol, Royal Dutch Shell, Saudi Aramco and Total, said in an open letter urging, governments and companies to accelerate their response to the climate crisis.

"The reality is that rather than shifting our priorities, the Covid-19 crisis is further crystallising our focus on what is essential: health, safety and protection of the environment while providing the energy and vital products that society needs to support economic recovery,” the executives, who are members of the Oil and Gas Climate Initiative, added.

The 12-member OGCI was formed in 2014 to accelerate global response to reducing greenhouse gas emissions. Several organisations have urged governments not to neglect climate policy amid the pandemic.

Earlier this month the World Economic Forum said the coronavirus pandemic risked derailing progress in clean energy growth as countries pause economic expansion, to focus on immediate health risks to populations.

Abu Dhabi-based International Renewable Energy Agency has called for stimulus and recovery packages to be made available to the clean energy sector to prepare for a more sustainable, post-pandemic future.

"Climate change is a reality facing us all that requires a consistent and dedicated approach,” the open letter read.

"The most successful responses to this pandemic around the world reveal how collaboration and solidarity are essential when facing global issues. This serves to reinforce the value of our collective effort to address the climate challenge through the collaboration among governments, businesses, civil society and the broader population,” it added.

The companies pledged to accelerate efforts within their own systems to reduce methane emissions as well as implementing low-carbon solutions.

The OGCI members also said they would scale up "commercially viable, environmentally responsible, and safe carbon capture, use and storage”.