At Cop27 in Sharm el-Sheikh, Egypt, world leaders will gather to discuss global efforts towards climate change mitigation and adaptation. One of the most contentious issues stood out during this monolithic event; the phasing out of fossil fuels. Despite support from several nations, a handful of oil and gas producers, such as Saudi Arabia, were able to successfully stop the conference from agreeing to phase out fossil fuels.
The issue at hand revolved around voting procedures for the conference, and how various factions could ensure they had a say in the decisions being made. The Swiss negotiator speaking at the plastic treaty talks on Tuesday proposed a new system of voting which would allow each faction to have an equal voice in the proceedings. However, Saudi Arabia, China and India threatened to put a halt to the talks until an agreement was reached that allowed each party to heavily influence the outcome.
Sensing the fragility of the situation, Senegal’s negotiator stepped in to try to break the deadlock. Despite their valiant efforts, the issue was still holding up discussions on the first day of talks. This was due in part to the influence that big oil and gas producers possess over the international energy markets, with countries like the US, Saudi Arabia and Russia refusing to support production cuts.
To move forward, both the proponents of renewable energy and the oil and gas industry will need to cooperate towards finding a resolution to this conflict. Renewable energy needs to become more economically viable, so that it can eventually replace traditional energy sources. This may involve a combination of government incentives, consumer tax cuts and subsidies, and greater investments in green energy infrastructure. On the other hand, oil and gas producers need to understand the urgency of the situation and accept the fact that the burning of fossil fuels is not sustainable in the long term.
At Cop27, world leaders must look beyond their immediate interests and recognize the importance of taking decisive action to reduce emissions and tackle climate change. It is up to us to choose our own destiny, and doing the right thing now can make a big difference in the future of our planet.