Saudi Aramco CEO warns of social unrest if new investment in fossil fuels ends too quickly

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  • Oil company Saudi Aramco’s chief executive Amin Nasser on Monday urged global leaders to continue investing in planet-warming fossil fuels for years to come.
  • During remarks at the World Petroleum Congress in Houston, Texas, Nasser claimed that too rapid a transition to cleaner fuels could prompt uncontrolled inflation and social unrest.
  • Nasser’s statement comes amid pressure on oil and gas producers to limit production of climate-changing fossil fuels and move to renewable energy development.

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Amin Nasser, the chief executive of Saudi Aramco, the world’s largest oil producer, urged global leaders on Monday to continue investing in planet-warming fossil fuels in the coming years, arguing that the world is “overnight” with clean energy. can lead to infection. “Deeply flawed.”

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During remarks at the World Petroleum Congress in Houston, Texas, Nasser claimed that too rapid a transition to cleaner fuels could prompt uncontrolled inflation and social unrest, and ultimately raise nations’ emissions targets to curb carbon pollution. .

“I understand that publicly acknowledging that oil and gas will play an essential and important role during the transition and beyond will be difficult for some,” Nassar said during the conference, which focused on low-carbon strategies and technology. has done.

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“But accepting this reality will be much easier than dealing with energy insecurity, rampant inflation and social unrest as prices become unbearably high, and net-zero commitments by countries begin to settle,” he said. to continue.

Nasser’s remarks come amid mounting pressure on the oil and gas industry to limit fossil fuel exploration and production and move to renewable energy development, as countries set new carbon emissions reduction targets to fight climate change. Huh.

The International Energy Agency warned in May that the world must immediately stop investing in new oil and gas projects to achieve net-zero emissions by 2050 and avoid the worst consequences of climate change.

To prevent global temperatures from warming more than 1.5 °C, the world will have to reach and nearly halve greenhouse gas emissions within the next decade. net-zero emissions by 2050According to the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change. The Earth has already warmed by about 1.1 °C above pre-industrial levels and by 2100 the temperature is expected to increase by 2.4 °C.

But other world energy leaders at the conference, including the CEOs of Exxon and Chevron, also argued that oil and gas demand will remain high in the coming years, despite efforts to transition to a clean energy economy.

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“Oil and gas play a central role in meeting the world’s energy needs, and we play an essential role in delivering them in a low-carbon way,” Chevron CEO Mike Wirth said at the conference. “Our products run the world.”

Exxon on Monday unveiled plans to reach net-zero emissions from its operations in oil and gas fields in West Texas and New Mexico by 2030 as part of an effort to curb emissions in its business. During the conference, the company’s CEO Darren Woods stressed the continuing need for fossil fuels amid the clean energy transition.

“The fact remains that under most credible scenarios, net-zero pathways will continue to play an important role in meeting society’s needs, including oil and natural gas,” Woods said.

There has been a sharp jump in demand for fossil fuels around the world this year as world economies recover from the coronavirus pandemic. and global carbon emissions from burning fossil fuels This year is estimated to increase to 36.4 billion tonnes compared to 2020, An increase of 4.9% was registered.

President Joe Biden announced last month that the US, along with China, India, Japan, South Korea and the United Kingdom, would tap the Strategic Petroleum Reserve and released 50 million barrels this year in an effort to quell rapid growth in the fuel. Will do prices.

“While my remarks today may be jarring, I know that if we don’t speak up as an industry, no one else will speak on our behalf,” Nasser said.

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