Climate envoy Kerry concerned as oil companies back off renewables

Source: By Zack Coleman, Politico • Posted: Sunday, February 12, 2023

John Kerry said oil and gas companies will be part of the transition to lower emission sources of energy.

Special Climate Envoy John Kerry said Thursday he plans to reach out to the major oil companies that are showing a decreased appetite for investing in clean energy.

Kerry said he wants to understand how short-term actions by oil majors to dial back spending on renewables fits into their broader strategy for reducing planet-heating gases caused by burning fossil fuels. He suggested slowing those investments could blunt momentum for developing emerging technologies to curb emissions from the oil and gas sector, such as hydrogen and carbon capture.

“If they have a plan and they know that they can reduce the emissions, then it’s an understandable decision,” Kerry told POLITICO. “But as of this moment, we just don’t see the technology and capacity to be able to bring it to scale in a commercially viable way. And we need those kinds of assurances.”

The comments come after European oil giants BP and Royal Dutch Shell said they would emphasize growing their oil and gas operations rather than boosting clean energy spending. Shell said it would hold renewable spending flat, while BP — one of the most climate-ambitious oil companies — said it would instead lower fossil fuel production 25 percent from 2019 levels by 2030 instead of its previous 40 percent target.