OPEC issued a strongly worded defense of the oil-and-gas industry days before the start of the biggest ever climate talks, pushing back against the International Energy Agency (IEA) and highlighting the increasingly fractious debate over how best to tackle global warming.
The Organisation of Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) said that the IEA has “unjustly vilified” the industry over its role in the climate crisis, according to a Nov. 27 statement that took issue with a recent report from the Paris-based agency.
The oil industry is embracing renewables, with major investments being made, and it is investing in technologies to reduce emissions, OPEC said.
“The manner in which the IEA has unfortunately used its social media platforms in recent days to criticize and instruct the oil-and-gas industry is undiplomatic,” OPEC Secretary-General Haitham Al-Ghais said. “OPEC itself is not an organization that would prescribe to others what they should do.”
COP28 begins on Thursday in Dubai, with the summit’s president, Sultan Al Jaber, also the head of the OPEC producer’s state oil company, making it one of the most controversial climate summits to date. On the same day, OPEC and its partners from outside the grouping including Russia are due to convene online in a delayed meeting to agree on production levels for 2024.
A framework proposed by the IEA to align company targets with net zero goals “is a tool intended to curtail the sovereign actions and choices of oil-and-gas producing developing countries, through pressurizing their national oil companies,” the group said. It also defended carbon capture technology.