As the world’s biggest producer of oil and gas, the United States plays a crucial role in advancing plans to phase out fossil fuels ahead of the upcoming United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) 28th Conference of the Parties (COP28) in the United Arab Emirates. However, this is a challenge as U.S. oil and gas companies continue to make substantial profits while receiving significant taxpayer subsidies.
Despite the best available science and modeling indicating that oil and gas demand will peak in 2030, industry executives do not believe in this projection. The energy transition needs to be based on scientific necessity and the progress of renewable energy at the turn of the decade. The European Union, made up of twenty-seven countries, has approved its negotiations strategy for COP28, centered on a call to phase out “unabated fossil fuels,” with ten of those countries wanting a complete phase out of fossil fuels.
The success of this call will depend on the willingness of major fossil fuel producing countries like the United States, Saudi Arabia, Russia, and the United Arab Emirates, which is hosting this year’s negotiations. At this pivotal moment, it is essential for countries most responsible for continuing global fossil fuel dependence to commit to ambitious plans to phase them out simultaneously expanding renewable energy and electrifying the economy in a responsible manner. Failure to do so will have environmental and economic consequences that we are not prepared to meet and must avoid to the greatest extent possible. The survival of humanity depends on taking action now.