This week I will participate in the Climate Conference ‘Scotland's Countdown to COP26’ - the same week when COP26 should have been happening here in Scotland… another casualty of 2020. In addition to the sadness that we have seen globally because of this pandemic, the wave of cancellations, restrictions imposed and loved ones lost, 2020 has brought us new perspective.
I hope that it is this new perspective that may not only be behaviour changing, but our best chance of delivering the change we need nationally and internationally to realise a net zero future. A future where we restrict, stop and reverse global warming. A future where we work together for the greater good.
It all sounds a little too good to be true, I know. And perhaps we won’t get quite that far, but I believe with commitment, investment and innovation we can make serious progress. That should be our goal.
Our future energy mix has to change. Fossil fuels will not be replaced with one alternative, we will have to invest and back many solutions, from blue and green hydrogen, all forms of renewable power – best fit for your local environment – and support mitigating solutions from carbon capture and sequestration through to peat bogs and tree planting. Our world, how we use it and how we see it will have to change.
I get frustrated when people say that oil and gas is not part of this transition. Our every day life is so entangled with oil and gas that it will take years to find alternatives and even longer to perhaps change demand. And it’s not just about heating your home, providing electricity or transportation… oil and gas is part of more than 18,000 daily products from the pen you use, your TV, PC and your mobile phone, to the clothes you wear. We need to understand our carbon footprint and where the things we use come from. We need to be informed buyers.
We all want more renewable energy. To deliver it, we need oil and gas - to build the foundations, deliver the steel, create the carbon fibre structures and move the equipment to where it needs to go. Never in the history of industrial revolution has an incumbent industry been so required to enable the growth of the emerging industry.
So, we need a balanced conversation.
We can transition oil and gas out of our everyday life, we can develop new products, grow our renewables, and find alternative industrial solutions. We have many technologies to solve todays challenges – but we don’t have them at a cost we can afford. We need to innovate.
This is a transition. During that transition our industry should be held to account, we have already committed to delivering oil and gas with a net zero footprint, we should be pushed to deliver. Pushed to innovate and create cost competitive solutions to the next generation of energy delivery. OGTC’s Closing the Gap report identifies the need for investment but also the opportunity in jobs (>200,000) and value to the UK (>£2.5 trillion). Making net zero real but also just. But it also identifies the need for pace.
As we take the Road to Glasgow, we should ensure that all hydrocarbon product used in the UK has a net zero footprint, lets drive this expectation, set the goal, create the policies and local capability to be a leading nation in the delivery of net zero technology and services.
At OGTC we are committed to enabling this transition.
We invest with industry to accelerate the delivery of technology that makes this transition affordable and we work to inspire the next generation to become part of the solution. So, don’t read this and think “whatever”. Read this and think “what can I do to make a difference?”
This transition will not be delivered for you, it must be delivered with you. And your voice needs to be heard as we follow the Road to Glasgow 2021.