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07 Jul 2021

Fourth Technical Workshop on Climate Change held via videoconference

Vienna, Austria, 7 July 2021--The OPEC Secretariat today hosted the fourth reiteration of the Technical Workshop on Climate Change via videoconference.

The event focused on addressing the role of the Circular Carbon Economy (CCE) and how the green initiatives, recently announced by the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, can contribute to combatting climate change. The workshop provided a dynamic and open platform to exchange views and discuss key relevant issues in the lead-up to COP26 planned for 31 October to 12 November in Glasgow.

In his remarks, OPEC Secretary General, HE Mohammad Sanusi Barkindo, underscored the importance and timeliness of the workshop, given the recent industry developments in connection to environmental matters and the energy transition.

The Secretary General highlighted the commitment of OPEC Member Countries to key global issues, such as climate change and the need for sustainable development. He noted that the 13 Members of OPEC continue to contribute positively to the global efforts under the principles of equity and ‘common but differentiated responsibilities and respective capabilities’.

Barkindo stressed that that oil is projected to continue to form a crucial part of the current and future global energy mix, given the expected growth of the world’s economy, population and energy demand. “Energy stability is and will remain vital to our way of life,” he stated.

The Secretary General emphasised that the oil industry has always been a leader in driving innovation and efficiency, which can help in crafting inclusive, fair and equitable solutions to climate change in the context of sustainable development.

Barkindo also underlined the importance of securing an affordable and sustainable supply of energy, highlighting that energy poverty is a plight that requires the collective response by all stakeholders involved. “The scale of this challenge requires a portfolio of energy options, including abundant and economic resources like oil and gas. The post-COVID-19 recovery will not be complete so long as hundreds of millions of people live in energy poverty,” he said.

The Secretary General noted that the OPEC Secretariat is currently preparing for the First Ministerial Roundtable on Energy, Climate and Sustainable Development for oil-producing countries scheduled for 6 September 2021. The event is organised under the framework of the Charter of Cooperation (CoC).

“The Roundtable is the first event of its kind held under the two-year-old Charter of Cooperation. It will bring together Ministers and a broad coalition of global energy stakeholders who will play a crucial role in the energy transition,” he said.

The G20, under the Presidency of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia in 2020, supported the framework of the CCE and its ‘4Rs’– reduce, reuse, recycle and remove. The Kingdom also announced in March of this year the ‘Saudi Green Initiative’ and the ‘Middle East Green Initiative’ to serve as platforms for promoting cooperation and encouraging innovative and sustainable solutions to climate change.

In this regard, the Secretary General stated: “This trio of pragmatic initiatives form an integral part of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia’s efforts to enhance global engagement on energy and environmental policies,” adding, “Moreover, as an OPEC Member Country, Saudi Arabia wants to work with regional partners, including many of fellow Member Countries, to transfer knowledge and share experiences.”

The workshop, which was being held a day before the 19th Coordination Meeting on Climate Change, was attended by 10 experts, as well as all Declaration of Cooperation (DoC) and CoC countries and institutions like the Saudi Ministry of Energy; KAPSARC; Khalifa University, UAE; UNFF Secretariat; IPCC; IPIECA; UN ESCWA; and IEAGHG.