Oil tests pre-Omicron highs on economic growth hopes

Climate crisis puts oil in the crosshairs, but dependence persists

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Paris: The climate crisis has put the end of oil on the agenda, but given the world economy’s heavy dependence on oil, achieving this goal is a daunting task.

“In 2021, several developments showed clearly that (the petroleum) industry doesn’t have a future,” said Romain Ioualalen at the activist group Oil Change International.

The International Energy Agency warned in May that if the world is to achieve net zero carbon emissions by 2050 and has the opportunity to limit the temperature rise to 1.5 degrees Celsius, it needs to immediately stop new investment in fossil projects.

The call was a revolution for an agency created in the wake of the first 1970 oil shock to protect the energy security of rich, oil-consuming nations.

Another major moment in 2021 was the emergence at the COP 26 climate summit in Glasgow of a coalition of nations that pledged to phase out oil and gas production, although no major oil and gas producing nation joined that group.

“It is no longer taboo to talk about the end of the extraction of hydrocarbons during international climate summits,” said Oil Change International’s Ioualalen.

And fossil fuels — which still represent 80 percent of energy consumed — were explicitly blamed for driving climate change, which was not the case when the Paris climate pact was reached in 2015.

Recently, the oil giant Shell decided to withdraw from the development of the controversial Cambo field near Scotland, saying that the investment case was “not strong enough” and environmental defenders had achieved a symbolic victory.

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