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In the next UN Climate Summit OPEC+ delegates must not back down

By Tom Harris - posted Thursday, 11 January 2024

In last month's United Nations Climate Change Conference, it appeared at first that OPEC+ nations had injected a note of much-needed realism into the event (OPEC+ is a group of 13 members of the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) and 11 other non-OPEC members (the top five producers of which are Russia, Azerbaijan, Kazakhstan, Mexico and Oman)). But in the final analysis, they all bowed to political correctness and, while avoiding direct language about phasing out fossil fuels, still ended up supporting "transitioning away from fossil fuels in energy systems, in a just, orderly and equitable manner, accelerating action in this critical decade, so as to achieve net zero by 2050 in keeping with the science."

Of course, if they were really paying attention to "the science," they wouldn't be transitioning away from fossil fuels at all. Delegates would be boosting exploration and development of fossil fuels so as to ensure our energy security in an increasingly unstable and unpredictable world. After all, if problematic climate change did happen, in contrast to the "renewable energy" they committed to triple, delegates would want us to have the most solid and dependable energy sources possible, and fossil fuels certainly fit the bill.

As ICSC-Canada concluded in last month's report, "A cautionary tale for governments around the world part 2":


… a dispassionate examination of the available weather and climate observational data shows that nothing out of the ordinary is happening in the real world. Forecasts of impeding climate doom are based on hopelessly flawed computerized climate models that do not stand up to serious critique. Much of what climate alarmists claim is based on easily disproven myths.

Just before COP28 started, it seemed that the conference leader would approach this issue sensibly. At the online She Changes Climate event on November 21, former UN special envoy for climate change Mary Robinson challenged Cop 28 president Sultan Al Jaber to lead in phasing out fossil fuels. Al Jaber was having none of it and answered:

I accepted to come this meeting to have a sober and a mature conversation. I'm not in any way signing up to any discussion that is alarmist… There is no science out there, or no scenario out there, that says that the phase-out of fossil fuels is what's going to achieve 1.5C.

Al Jaber was right. Phasing out fossil fuels would have little impact on climate.

In response to further pressure from Robinson, Al Jaber final challenged her back:

show me the roadmap for a phase-out of fossil fuel that will allow for sustainable socioeconomic development, unless you want to take the world back into caves.


He was right there too. As ICSC-Canada explained in Part 1 of the report released in 2022:

'Decarbonizing' an entire economy would mean virtually eliminating the use of all fossil fuels used to provide energy services like heat, light, motive power and all the thousands of uses of electricity. Consequently, achieving net-zero for the City of Ottawa would face insuperable technical and cost barriers, and demand unacceptable political changes for a democratic society, placing us back to standards of living of at least 150 years ago.

This was not the only time recently that OPEC+ leaders have spoken sensibly about the issue.

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About the Author

Tom Harris is an Ottawa-based mechanical engineer and Executive Director of the International Climate Science Coalition.

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All articles by Tom Harris

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