Climate Change

14 Mar 2022

At Global Energy Conference, Oil and Gas Industry Leaders Argue For Fossil Fuels’ Future in the Energy Transition

14 Mar 2022  by   
Credit: Photo by Yi-Chin Lee/Xinhua via Getty Images
Energy titans from around the globe were set to discuss climate change and the challenges it poses to their industry when they gathered in Houston this week, but Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, and the turmoil it unleashed in energy markets, reframed their agenda. Taken together, the twin crises pose an existential threat to the industry.

As Europe’s recently developed plans to speed their shift to green energy make clear, governments and consumers could react to high oil and gas prices and heightened volatility by accelerating a move away from fossil fuels.

But some executives and their supporters in Congress stressed a different point. The war, and its disruptions to Russia’s oil and gas exports, showed the need for greater production of their products, they said, and for a loosening of climate-focused regulations that constrain development. The invasion, they said, shows how crucial their industry remains to the global economy and how American oil and gas exports can serve national interests.

There was another theme, too, independent of Ukraine. Even in the long term, many executives argued, the urgency of addressing climate change need not sideline oil and gas as fuels of the past. Instead, they said, the fuels can serve important roles in a low-carbon future.


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