The virtue of green choice for Qatar

The virtue of green choice for Qatar


The virtue of green choice for Qatar could well be served by only reducing all greenhouse gas emissions across all sectors by 25% by 2030 . . . 

The above-featured image is for illustration and is credit to Middle-East campaign.

The virtue of green choice for Qatar

Dr. Yassine Talaoui in The Peninsula of 20 Sep 2023

Qatar seeks to increase LNG production by 63% by 2027 and commits to reducing greenhouse gas emissions across all sectors by 25 percent by 2030. Though the two goals may sound contradictory, the curious mind muses on how this could lead Qatar to fashion a dual role as both gas exporter and green-energy powerhouse. Further, the challenge in setting up Qatar’s dual energy role isn’t in the potential or commitment. After all, the region has witnessed multiple attempts of diversifying commodity-based economies to no avail.

How can Qatar square the circle, then? Put simply, by coming through with the finance and the mechanics of spending it.

Allow me to explain.

Since its discovery in 1972, Gas has propelled Qatar development into a wealthy and ambitious state. The kind of ambition that landed Qatar the FIFA World Cup and carved it a role as a regional problem solver. The time now has come to use that very same commodity to build a different economic future for generations to come.

Last year, Qatar has reported a budget surplus of $24billion. This cash excess is likely to swell further due to the increasing gas demand caused by the Ukraine-Russia Crisis, which has turned gas into the new oil. Qatar’s ministry of finance could use this surplus to beef up the Qatar Investment Authority to snap up some trophy assets. But it could also divert these proceeds toward building electric grids capable of handling the transition to clean energy. In the long run, the latter option translates to choosing action today and fewer tradeoffs ahead. It would mean spreading the cost of climate change by securing a more productive hydrocarbon-free economy for Qatar, fewer emissions, and lowering the risk of flooding and extreme heat. As such, Qatar could power its growth using renewable grids, which would replace the ones running on hydrocarbons. In this vein, Qatar’s high solar potential could be used to develop solar energy projects to create thousand megawatts of solar generation capacity.

As the country expands its domestic production capacity by $30billion to swell further gas revenues, pumping these surpluses into renewable grids would elevate Qatar to a much higher level of success toward reaching NetZero emissions. This necessitates a pledge to invest continuously in green development projects that can reduce emissions and spur carbon-free economic growth. Such an aim can be achieved via proper carbon pricing and international emissions trading to persuade the private sector to join forces for Qatar’s decarbonizing efforts. Government aids and loans can follow with green strings to incentivize the private sector to contribute to cutting emissions and converting hydrocarbon-powered consumption to a green one.

Becoming an even bigger player in gas production would mean Qatar can pour gas proceeds into clean manufacturing and diversifying local economies. As cash flows in, Qatar’s transition away from hydrocarbons speeds up and its competitiveness in the non-hydrocarbon economy rises. It is possible to imagine how such a virtuous cycle of hydrocarbon proceeds and clean-economy growth might lead to more investment and trade that lifts Qatar’s living standards and broadens prosperity for its population. The gas bonanza can be used to finance essential infrastructure and desalination projects that can help Qatar’s cities stay habitable amid rising temperatures. Environmental journalist Gaia Vince argues, in her book “Nomad Century, that regions populated by close to 3.5 billion people would become unsuitable for living if the world temperature grew by a mere 4 degrees.

Gas has been and continues to be a valuable source of foreign exchange for Qatar. With its revenues, the government can continue its social spending, school, healthcare, and public services funding, and direct what is left of its budget toward green economy maneuvers. These entail a series of projects such as waste-processing plants, a big sea wall, or even swapping to electric buses. At the global level, these moves will bring Qatar closer to the COP national climate targets. At the national level, they will shield Qatar from regional and global crises 10 to 20 years from now. And most importantly, on Qatar’s balance sheet, their cost can be afforded today.

By acting now, Qatar can avoid the tradeoff, lying ahead, between climate and development. As temperatures rise and world poverty presses, the tradeoff is imminent. Weird as it may sound, Qatar’s gas production expansion is its exit plan from a hydrocarbon-based economy toward a diversified economy aimed at lowering environmental risks and ecological scarcities and building infrastructure that promotes social and environmental sustainability.

Dr. Yassine Talaoui  is Assistant Professor of Strategic Management at the Center for Entrepreneurship and Organizational Excellence, College of Business and Economics, Qatar University.





The oil industry and its dangerous new climate denialism

The oil industry and its dangerous new climate denialism


The oil industry and its new climate denialism seem to tread on dangerous grounds.  Adi Imsirovic of the University of Surrey elaborates on the details.

The above-featured image is for illustration and is credit to the IFS.


The oil industry has succumbed to a dangerous new climate denialism

Oil workers pushing barrels out of an oil rig
OPEC predicts oil demand will be 10% higher by the 2040s. Iurii

If we have not been warned of the dangers of climate change this summer, we never will be. Extreme heat, forest fires and floods have been all over news reports. Yet the oil and gas industry remains largely in denial.

The International Energy Agency (IEA) says steep cuts in oil and gas production are necessary to reach the Paris (COP 21) goal of keeping global warming at 1.5℃. However, only a tiny fraction of the industry, accounting for less than 5% of oil and gas output, has targets aligned with the IEA’s “net zero” requirements.

The current secretary general of production cartel Opec, Haitham al-Ghais, expects global oil demand to rise by about 10% to 110 million barrels a day by 2045, a volume incompatible with the Paris goals. The UK government has just offered a helping hand, granting around 100 new North Sea licences. What are we to make of this mismatch?

The new denialism

Typical of the new breed of climate denialism is a recent report by the Energy Policy Research Foundation (ERPF), a body funded by the US government and various undisclosed corporate interests and foundations. It sees the IEA’s requirements as a “seal of approval … to block investment in oil and gas production by western companies”. The report views meeting the targets as too costly, too harsh on poor countries and too bad for the energy security of the west.

In fact, it is wrong on each account. Many eminent economists and scientists use the concept of the social cost of carbon (SCC), which is defined as the cost to society of releasing an additional tonne of CO₂. Expert estimates from 2019 put this at between US$171 and US$310 (£133 to £241). If we go with, say, US$240 per tonne, the social cost of continued carbon equivalent emissions comes out at almost US$8.5 trillion every year.

A recent study has factored into the calculation climate feedback loops. This is where one problem caused by global warming leads to others, such as melting permafrost unleashing stores of methane.

When the study estimated the economic damage that this could cause, it produced an SCC in excess of US$5,000. That implies annual costs of more like US$170 trillion a year, which makes the US$4 trillion investment into clean energy that the IEA thinks necessary to meet the Paris climate goals look like a drop in the ocean.

Temperatures in countries such as Greece have soared to dangerously high levels this summer. EPA

It may help to break this down to one barrel of oil. A special IEA report for COP28 estimates that on average, each barrel of oil emits 0.53 tonnes of CO₂ equivalent in greenhouse gas across its life cycle, 20% of which comes from production.

Going back to our average SSC per tonne of US$240, that points to a social cost of US$126 per barrel. With oil currently at US$85 per barrel, the societal damage from producing, transporting, refining and consuming it is far greater – and that’s before including climate feedbacks.

Meanwhile, the arguments by the EPRF and like-minded supporters about energy security are laughable. The history of the oil and gas industry is a history of wars and geopolitical tensions. Transitioning to cleaner fuels can only increase our energy security and reduce the need to police remote autocracies.

The argument that poor countries need to continue burning carbon for development reasons is no better. In its latest report from 2022, the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) said climate change would probably see an increase in “losses and damages, strongly concentrated among the poorest vulnerable populations”.

Equally, the World Health Organization estimates that: “Between 2030 and 2050, climate change is expected to cause approximately 250,000 additional deaths per year from malnutrition, malaria, diarrhoea and heat stress.”

How to respond

The denialists offer no alternatives to cutting carbon emissions, and often simply ignore climate change altogether. The recent ERPF report mentions climate change only four times. It is as if heatwaves, forest fires, flooding, rising sea levels and the demise of natural habitat caused by climate inaction were happening on another planet.

We still have time to limit global warming below 1.5℃. It is true that we will need oil and gas for many years, and that there are currently no alternatives for certain sectors such as air travel, shipping and some industries. Nonetheless, there is still much that can be done now to make a substantial difference.

To incentivise the transition to cleaner energy, governments need to end fossil fuel subsidies, which the IMF estimates amounted to US$5.9 trillion in 2020 alone. We also need to put a proper price on carbon – only 40 countries have attempted this so far, and none has it anywhere near the estimated social cost of emitting carbon.

Countries that resist charging their own polluters should face a carbon border adjustment mechanism, which is a tariff that effectively puts the polluter on the same footing as local players. If all the actors in the fossil fuel supply chain had to face the cost of the damage they cause, the need to phase out long-term investments in fossil fuels would become more obvious.

The IEA requirements for “net zero” are just one of the pathways towards meeting the Paris goal of 1.5℃ warming. Others are explored by some of the more credible actors in the petroleum industry, such as Shell, BP and Norway’s Equinor, but all require a substantial decline in oil demand and production by 2050.

Required production cuts

I left the IEA’s scenario off the graph because it published so few datapoints, but it is broadly in line with the others. Meanwhile, the OPEC data is for reference and not a net zero scenario. BP, Shell, Equinor and OPEC

Instead of criticising efforts to slow climate change and sponsoring ridiculous reports calling for more fossil fuels, the oil industry should eliminate leakages, venting and flaring of methane, and electrify as many processes as possible using renewable power. It should also employ carbon capture, usage and storage technologies over the next ten years – yes this will increase the price of fossil fuels, but that is exactly what we need to make clean sources of energy competitive across the board and speed up the energy transition.

The sooner the industry starts facing up to the realities of climate change, the more chance it has to survive. The companies and even countries that produce fossil fuels will have to face and pay the cost for the damage they cause. Those costs are already massive and will grow. Those that survive will do so only as a provider of clean and sustainable energy.



Adi Imsirovic, Fellow, University of Surrey

This article is republished from The Conversation under a Creative Commons license. Read the original article.

Renewables growth did not dent fossil fuel dominance


Renewables growth did not dent fossil fuel dominance in 2022, report says

LONDON, June 26 () – Global energy demand rose 1% last year and record renewables growth did nothing to shift the dominance of fossil fuels, which still accounted for 82% of supply, the industry’s Statistical Review of World Energy report said on Monday.

Last year was marked by turmoil in the energy markets after Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, which helped to boost gas and coal prices to record levels in Europe and Asia.

“Despite further strong growth in wind and solar in the power sector, overall global energy-related greenhouse gas emissions increased again,” said the president of the UK-based global industry body Energy Institute, Juliet Davenport.

“We are still heading in the opposite direction to that required by the Paris Agreement.”

The annual report, a benchmark for the industry, was published for the first time by the Energy Institute together with consultancies KPMG and Kearny after they took it over from BP (BP.L), which had authored the report since the 1950s.

Scientists say the world needs to cut greenhouse gas emissions by around 43% by 2030 from 2019 levels to have any hope of meeting the international Paris Agreement goal of keeping warming well below 2C above pre-industrial levels.

Here are some highlights from the report on 2022:


  • Global primary energy demand grew around 1%, slowing from the previous year’s 5.5%, but demand was still around 3% above pre-coronavirus levels in 2019.
  • Energy consumption grew everywhere apart from Europe, including Eastern Europe.
  • Renewables, excluding hydropower, accounted for 7.5% of global energy consumption, around 1% higher than the previous year.
  • The share of fossil fuels in global energy consumption remained at 82%.
  • Electricity generation was up 2.3%, slowing down from the previous year. Wind and solar power grew to a record share of 12% of power generation, again surpassing nuclear, which fell 4.4%, and meeting 84% of net electricity demand growth.
  • Coal’s share in power generation remained dominant at around 35.4%.
  • Oil consumption increased by 2.9 million barrels per day (bpd) to 97.3 million bpd, with growth slowing compared with the previous year.
  • Compared with pre-Covid levels in 2019, oil consumption was 0.7% lower.
  • Most oil demand growth came from revived appetite for jet fuel and diesel-related products.
  • Oil production grew by 3.8 million bpd, with the lion’s share coming from OPEC members and the United States. Nigeria saw the largest decline.
  • Oil refining capacity grew by 534,000 bpd, mainly in non-OECD countries.


  • Amid record prices in Europe and Asia, global gas demand fell 3% but still made up 24% of primary energy consumption, slightly below the previous year.
  • Gas production was stable year-on-year.
  • Liquefied natural gas (LNG) production was up 5% at 542 billion cubic metres (bcm), a similar pace to the previous year, with most growth coming from North America and the Asia-Pacific region.
  • Europe accounted for much of LNG demand growth, increasing its imports by 57%, while countries in the Asia-Pacific region and South and Central America reduced purchases.
  • Japan replaced China as the world’s largest LNG importer.


  • Coal prices hit record levels, rising 145% in Europe and 45% in Japan.
  • Coal consumption rose 0.6%, its highest level since 2014, driven mainly by Chinese and Indian demand, while consumption in North America and Europe declined.
  • Coal output was 7% higher than the previous year, with China, India and Indonesia accounting for most of the growth.


  • Growth in renewable power, excluding hydro-power, slowed down slightly to 14% but solar and wind capacity still showed a record increase of 266 gigawatts, with solar taking the lion’s share.
  • China added the most solar and wind power.


  • Global energy-related emissions, including industrial processes and flaring, were up 0.8% reaching a new high of 39.3 billion tonnes of CO2 equivalent.
  • Lithium carbonate prices jumped 335%. Cobalt prices were up 24%.
  • Lithium and cobalt production rose 21%.
Reporting by Shadia Nasralla; editing by Philippa Fletcher


Phasing out Fossil Fuels to avoid Climate ‘Catastrophe’


Guterres calls for phasing out fossil fuels to avoid climate ‘catastrophe’

© Unsplash/Amir Arabshahi
Burning fossil fuels like coal contributes to climate change.


Guterres calls for phasing out fossil fuels to avoid climate ‘catastrophe’

Climate and Environment

Countries must phase out coal and other fossil fuels to avert climate “catastrophe”, UN Secretary-General António Guterres warned on Thursday in New York.  


“We are hurtling towards disaster, eyes wide open”, he said.  “It’s time to wake up and step up.”

Mr. Guterres was speaking to journalists at UN Headquarters following a meeting with civil society climate leaders from across the world.

‘Catastrophe’ looms 

He said limiting global temperature rise to 1.5 degrees Celsius is still possible but will require a 45 per cent reduction in carbon emissions by 2030.

However, current policies will lead to a 2.8°C temperature rise by the end of the century, which “spells catastrophe”.

He called for immediate global action toward net-zero emissions, which “must start with the polluted heart of the climate crisis: the fossil fuel industry.”

Leave coal in the ground

Countries must progressively phase out fossil fuels, “moving to leave oil, coal and gas in the ground where they belong”, and massively boost investment in renewable energy, he said.

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The UN chief has previously proposed establishing a Climate Solidarity Pact under which rich nations would support emerging economies with cutting emissions.

Another proposal for an Acceleration Agenda calls on governments to phase out coal by 2040, end public and private international coal funding, and shift subsidies from fossil fuels to renewables, among other measures.

 ‘A special responsibility’

“But the fossil fuel industry and its enablers have a special responsibility,” he said, noting the record “$4 trillion windfall” in income last year.

“Yet for every dollar it spends on oil and gas drilling and exploration, only four cents went to clean energy and carbon capture combined. Trading the future for 30 pieces of silver is immoral,” he said.

Lead the transition

Mr. Guterres stressed that the fossil fuel industry should apply its massive resources “to drive, not obstruct” the global transition to renewable energy.

The industry currently “is not even reaching the very low operational emissions reductions targets it has set for itself,” he said.

He called for fossil fuel companies to present credible, comprehensive and detailed new transition plans that include reducing emissions “up and down the value chain” – from production through to refining, distribution and use.

Plans must also establish clear, near-term targets towards the transition to ‘green’ energy.


Don’t ‘knee-cap’ progress

“Fossil fuel companies must also cease and desist influence peddling and legal threats designed to kneecap progress.  I am thinking particularly of recent attempts to subvert net zero alliances, invoking anti-trust legislation,” he said.

“Governments are pivotal in setting the record straight.  They must help by providing clear reassurance. Collective climate action does not violate anti-trust – it upholds the public trust,” he added.

The UN chief also called for detailed plans from financial institutions, saying they must encourage the global energy transformation.

Plans should include an explicit strategy to progressively strip out fossil fuel assets from their portfolios to ensure alignment with the net-zero goal. All lobbying and policy engagement also should be disclosed.

“Financial institutions everywhere must end lending, underwriting, and investments in coal anywhere – including new coal infrastructure, power plants, and mines,” he said.

“And they must commit to end financing and investment in exploration for new oil and gas fields, and expansion of oil and gas reserves – investing instead in the just transition in the developing world.”






COP28 in the UAE needs to send a clear signal towards ambitious climate action. It requires a phase-out of oil and gas production, new global targets on renewables and fewer distractions from topics like CCS or co-firing old combustion technology with synthetic fuels from renewable sources.

This Climate Action Tracker briefing assesses recent action from national governments to start phasing out oil and gas production and support renewable electricity—or those that are promoting distractions like CCS.

The Climate Action Tracker has found:

  • None of the world’s largest fossil fuel producers have committed to ending new investments in oil and gas production and are instead increasing them.
  • Developed countries must lead the way and set end dates for oil and gas production—only minor producers are doing so.
  • Most governments have failed to eliminate fossil fuel subsidies despite longstanding promises to do so.
  • G7 members continue to support international public finance for fossil gas despite pledging to end new international public finance for fossil fuels in 2022.

To initiate the end of oil and gas production, the CAT has identified four main actions and checked whether national governments are following them:

The current system works for the rich

Oil and gas exploration, production and trade washed record and windfall profits into the pockets of corporations in 2022. The big western oil companies alone paid out USD 110bn in dividends and share repurchases (Reuters, 2023a)— a number higher than the global climate finance target of the Paris Agreement of USD 100bn by 2020, which developed countries have still not met.

Oil and gas majors have dumped their plans to reduce investment in production, increasing it instead. At the same time many developing countries still lack access to clean and affordable energy and around the world, people increasingly suffer from energy poverty, at least in part exacerbated by high fossil fuel prices and lack of finance for renewables.

Major oil and gas producers promote technologies that simply prolong oil and gas production

The CAT also finds that major oil and gas producers promote technologies that simply enable prolonging oil and gas production and distract from the real need to halve greenhouse gas emissions by 2030 and reduce global production of fossil fuels.

CAT determines that:

  • Carbon capture and storage cannot be a lifeline for oil and gas: The UAE, as the world’s 7th largest oil and 15th largest fossil gas producer, has officially been promoting an “emissions-free” fossil fuel agenda – touting the use of CCS in the energy sector rather than phasing out oil and gas.
  • Co-firing fossil fuels with renewable resources will never be competitive: Several governments are now promoting the use of fuels made from renewable electricity to reduce fossil fuel use in existing infrastructure—with a clear risk they will end up running on fossil fuels.

Electricity generation needs to rapidly transition to zero emissions

To meet sustainable development goals and stay below the Paris Agreement’s temperature limit, electricity generation needs to rapidly transition to zero emissions, primarily through renewable energy.

The CAT finds governments have not taken sufficient action on three important elements:

  • National renewable electricity targets need to be more ambitious, Paris-aligned, inclusive and push implementation.
  • The creation of favourable conditions for increased renewable energy uptake is advancing, but also lagging behind in some countries.
  • Phase-out targets for coal-fired electricity generation and moratoriums on new coal plants are becoming more widespread, but some major players have failed to act.

A more ambitious global renewable energy target is needed

If a global target on renewable expansion is set, it should clearly be a value that is larger than 1 TW added capacity per year on average, starting from today and for coming decades. This will support a full phase-out of fossil fuels in the electricity sector.

Recently, different policy makers and civil society organisations have started to call for a global renewable electricity target. For it to be effective, the global target needs to be ambitious enough to drive rapid change.



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