UAE state oil firm moves up net zero climate target to 2045

DUBAI, United Arab Emirates (AP) — A state-run oil giant in the United Arab Emirates said Monday it has moved up its target for achieving net zero emissions in its operations to 2045, as the country prepares to host U.N. climate talks later this year.

The Abu Dhabi National Oil Company, known as ADNOC, said it is also committed to acheiving zero methane emissions by 2030. Methane is a greenhouse gas that is 80 times more potent than carbon dioxide in the short term.

Earlier this year, ADNOC earmarked $15 billion for an array of green initiatives, including the development of hydrogen power, carbon capture facilities and the planting of mangroves.

The company had previously committed to net zero — the balancing of greenhouse gas emissions to the point that the amount removed from the atmosphere is equal to the amount emitted — by 2050.

The UAE, an OPEC member that produces over 3 million barrels of crude oil a day, will host the global climate talks known as COP28 from Nov. 30 to Dec. 12 in Dubai. It has appointed Sultan al-Jaber, the head of ADNOC, to chair the meeting, a move that drew criticism from some environmentalists.

Al-Jaber has emphasized the need to cut emissions, rather than end fossil fuel use itself. It’s prompted fears that he might seek loopholes for untested carbon-capture technologies and so-called offsets that experts say distract from the need to end the release of greenhouse gases.

Governments agreed eight years ago in Paris to limit global warming to 2 degrees Celsius (3.6 Fahrenheit) — ideally no more than 1.5C (2.7F). With average global temperatures already about 1.2C (2.2F) above pre-industrial levels, experts say the window to meet the more ambitious target is closing fast and even the less stringent goal would be missed if emissions aren’t slashed sharply soon.

The UAE, a global hub for business and tourism, has pledged to be carbon neutral by 2050 — a target that remains difficult to assess and one that authorities haven’t fully explained how they’ll reach. Analysts believe the Emirates is trying to maximize its profits as the world turns to renewables.

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