What is needed for change in the energy industry?

The oil and gas industry is transforming as key players like BP, Chevron and Shell are pledging to progressively shift to green energy solutions. Following mounting social pressure to tackle the climate crisis, energy corporations are finally listening and outlining their action plans for change.

A major agreement was made recently year between The UK Government and oil and gas companies in the North Sea to become net zero by 2050, generate thousands of green jobs, and invest in carbon storage technologies.

OGUK represents the UK oil and gas industry is spreading the word about the North Sea Transition Deal since March this year. Chief Executive Deirdre Michie said: “It is the first deal of its kind by any G7 country and a striking example of the UK showing global leadership on climate change ahead of COP26.”

But what does becoming net zero in the North Sea really mean? Can these changes be enough to offset the carbon dioxide emissions that will still be used through oil and gas consumption in the years to come?

By interviewing and researching, I will share the contrasting views of not only energy leaders such as OGUK, but climate science researchers and activists.

From a broader perspective, the EU has led the way with the Green Deal strategy that was outlined in 2019, aiming to achieve a climate neutral continent by 2050. Meanwhile, the US energy policy pledged to invest $2tn in a zero-emission electricity system by 2035, while creating green jobs and protecting communities vulnerable to the effects of climate change.

Obstacles to overcome in the energy transition

Are our climate goals achievable? What practical steps are needed so we can realistically meet these targets we set ourselves? What materials are needed to achieve these goals?

Renewable energy technologies such as wind turbines, electric car batteries and solar panels all require key metals like cobalt and nickel. Mining companies will be using robots to extract these metals from below the ocean floor between Hawaii and Mexico. Could an increased need to explore the ocean floor create another ecological crisis? Douglas McCauley, professor of ocean science at University of California thinks so, commenting “Those are serious, unanswered questions staring at us in the face,” “You may disrupt the health and functioning of that entire ecosystem.”

report from the International Energy Agency, warns of limited availability of the natural materials needed for green energy. There needs to be an investigation of the materials needed in renewable infrastructure during the emerging energy transition, and see whether negative environmental impacts during extraction can be avoided.

Between the years 2005-2019, the use of coal for the generation of electricity in the US more than halved, declining from 50% to a low of 23%, according to data from the US Energy Information Administration (EIA). Over that time, the country doubled its usage of renewable energy, such as wind and solar power.


Source: https://www.cleanenergywire.org/dossiers/energy-transition-eu-takes-centre-stage-quest-climate-neutrality

Source: https://www.weforum.org/agenda/2021/06/energy-us-market-shift/

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