Cop28 President-delegate Dr Sultan Al Jaber urged the oil and gas industry to allocate capital at scale to develop clean energy solutions.
Dr Al Jaber, who was speaking at the Opec Seminar in Vienna on Thursday, said reducing carbon emissions was the “critical challenge” of the century both economically and politically.
“That’s why I am so focused on Cop28 to be truly inclusive, and I mean inclusive to the fullest extent,” Dr Al Jaber told the gathering of energy ministers and industry executives.
The climate conference will need to “leverage the skills, the project management experience, the project finance expertise and the technological know-how of all relevant industries, including and in particular the oil and gas industry”, said Dr Al Jaber, who is also Minister of Industry and Advanced Technology and managing director and group chief executive of Adnoc.
While oil and gas has long been viewed “as the problem” the sector should “take this opportunity to step up, flip the script and show the world once again how this industry is an important part of the solutions we need”, Dr Al Jaber said.
“We need to rapidly build a new clean energy system, while comprehensively decarbonising the system we rely on today,” he said.
The UAE is investing heavily in clean energy projects and announced several initiatives as it seeks to reach net-zero emissions by 2050.
The country is developing new clean energy projects such as the Barakah nuclear plant, a solar plant in the Al Dhafra region of Abu Dhabi with a total capacity of two gigawatts, and the five-gigawatt Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum Solar Park in Dubai.
This week, the UAE Cabinet also approved the updated version of the UAE Energy Strategy 2050 and the development of the National Hydrogen Strategy.
Under the updated objectives of the UAE Energy Strategy 2050, the Arab world’s second-largest economy will invest Dh200 billion ($54 billion) by 2030 to ensure energy demand is met while sustaining economic growth.
Dr Al Jaber also called on the oil and gas industry to “up its game, urgently decarbonise its operations and take collective action to eliminate operational emissions”, based on three imperatives.
These include the entire industry aligning to achieve net zero by 2050; accelerating the industry-wide commitment to zero methane emissions; and monitoring and validating progress every step of the way, he said.
“Building a new energy system can only happen at speed and scale with united action on the supply and the demand side together,” Dr Al Jaber said.
“On the supply side, the world needs to massively scale up clean energies by 2030, with renewable energy capacity tripling to 11 terawatts, and hydrogen production doubling to 180 million tonnes.”
Annual renewable power capacity must add an average of 1,000 gigawatts annually by 2030 to meet Paris Agreement goals, according to the International Renewable Energy Agency.
Although global renewable capacity in the power sector grew by a record 300 gigawatts last year, the gap between actual progress and the development required to achieve long-term climate goals has continued to grow, the Abu Dhabi-based agency said in its World Energy Transitions Outlook 2023 last month.