Oil companies are playing a prominent role in this year’s United Nations climate conference, COP28, held in the United Arab Emirates, with their language and pledges under scrutiny.
Conference presence: The participation of oil giants at the climate conference has sparked controversy.
* Earlier, oil companies felt unwelcome at such events. This year, the oil cartel OPEC has its own pavilion.
* Despite acknowledging the reality of climate change, oil companies argue for continued use of fossil fuels, which power their profits and the global economy.
Decoding language: Oil company phrases such as “low carbon,” “unabated fossil fuels,” and “net zero” are often misleading.
* For instance, “low carbon energy” usually refers to cleaner methods of oil and gas production, not a complete elimination of carbon emissions.
* “Unabated fossil fuels” refer to emissions that go straight into the atmosphere, implying oil can continue if emissions are stored or trapped using technologies like carbon capture.
* ~~”Net zero”~~ often only refers to the emissions in oil companies’ operations, not the emissions from the oil they sell.
What’s at stake: The global use of oil and gas holds implications for COP28 and climate goals.
* Chevron says many pathways to achieving the Paris Agreement goals include using oil and gas.
* However, scientists say these goals can only be met with a reduction in the use of fossil fuels.
* Oil companies argue against a global switch away from fossil fuels despite critics pointing out their language’s impact on climate policy.
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