COP28: Methane Pledge By The ‘Giants Behind The Climate Crisis’ Falls Short, Says Guterres

UN Secretary-General António Guterres on Sunday sent a strong message to the oil and gas industry: the pledges made at COP28 in Dubai fall well short of what’s needed to meaningfully tackle the climate crisis.

As the fourth day of this year’s UN climate conference got underway, the UN chief stated: “The fossil fuel industry is finally starting to wake up, but the promises made clearly fall short of what is required.”

Reacting to the pledge announced on Saturday by several major oil and gas companies to reduce methane leaks from their pipelines by 2030, Mr. Guterres said it is a “step in the right direction”, but the promise failed to address a core issue, namely, eliminating emissions from fossil fuel consumption.

Methane (CH4) is a primary component of natural gas and is responsible for about a third of the planetary warming we see today. It is short-lived but is more powerful than carbon dioxide, the greenhouse gas most responsible for climate change. Without serious action, global anthropogenic methane emissions are projected to rise by up to 13 per cent between now and 2030.

Dubbing the oil and gas companies, the “giant behind the climate crisis”, the Secretary-General also pointed out that the pledge did not provide clarity on the pathway to reaching net-zero by 2050, which is “absolutely essential to ensure integrity.”

“Science is clear: we need to phase out fossil fuels within a timeframe compatible with limiting global warming to 1.5 Celsius,” he reiterated, referring to one of the keystone targets set by the landmark 2015 Paris Agreement.

“There must be no room for greenwashing,” he said, referring to the dangers involved in promoting deceptive marketing and false claims of sustainability.