Climate envoy John Kerry urges oil industry to curb emissions through tech

The U.S. official said he had "serious questions" as to whether that can happen.
Loukia Papadopoulos
Oil refinery and pipeline.jpg
Oil refinery and pipeline.


On Sunday, The Associated Press (AP) published an interview with U.S. climate envoy John Kerry where he urged oil and gas producers to develop the technological breakthroughs they say will soon allow the world to drill and burn fossil fuels without worsening climate change.

In the revealing article, Kerry said he had “serious questions” as to whether this development can happen. Instead, he claimed that the ideal solution is a fast global switch to renewable energy.

However, he did note that oil and gas states and companies would be offered the opportunity to give their technological rescue idea a try.

“If you’re able to abate the emissions, capture it,” Kerry told AP

“But we don’t have that at-scale yet. And we can’t sit here and just pretend we’re going to automatically have something we don’t have today. Because we might not. It might not work.”

As pressure mounts on oil and gas companies to curb their emissions, the firms hold on tightly to the hope of technology that could possibly scour away most of the climate-damaging gases that make fossil fuels the main culprit in global warming.

Serious questions

“What they’re banking on is that they’re going to be able to do the emissions capture,” Kerry said of oil and gas companies while highlighting several stages of operations they would need to successfully undertake to achieve this.

“If you can do those things, you may be able to make it economically competitive,” he said. “I have some serious questions about whether it will be price-competitive.”

And other experts seem to agree.

David Schlissel of the Institute for Energy Economics and Financial Analysis research group told AP that “actual experience has been that commercial-scale carbon capture projects have fallen far, far short of the claims.”

“I just think it’s foolish to think that we can keep pumping the stuff, CO2, methane, into the atmosphere, and that at some point we’ll be able to capture it,” Schlissel said.

Will oil and gas companies manage to engineer the tech they need to keep pumping their fuels or will we see a swift switch to clean energy?

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