Shell boss Ben van Beurden has told an OPEC meeting that traditional energy sources must integrate and work together with clean technologies to provide sustainable and economically-sensible power for the future.
Speaking in Vienna on Thursday, van Beurden said that the global energy system is going through a transition from coal and oil to a low-carbon model, where natural gas, renewables and carbon capture and storage (CCS) technology play a key role.
“In a world where, as we heard recently, Saudi Arabia has ambitions to become a ‘global power in solar and wind energy’, the vision of a long-term future powered in the main by renewables is one none of us can ignore,” he said.
“It’s also a vision I would encourage all OPEC members to take seriously. Not least because I believe twenty years from now, if we don’t act, global public opinion will be unforgiving.”
The Shell CEO also noted that with the global population increasing, energy demand will rise by 40% over the next 25 years, according to the International Energy Agency. At the same time, the challenges posed by climate change will require a drastic reduction of greenhouse gas emissions.
“In essence, we need to provide more energy, with far fewer emissions. To tackle poverty and climate change at the same time,” he said.
Shell is among the energy giants that have called for a strong climate agreement ahead of UN talks in Paris later this year. In a letter published on the Financial Times, CEOs of European major energy firms called for an effective carbon pricing system.
Van Beurden also said, “The energy transition is not about one system replacing another. It’s about finding a way of integrating the old and the new systems. The two evolving alongside each other – and complementing each other.
“The final thing we need to do – and by ‘we’ I mean governments, business and civil society – is to learn to work better together.”
Meanwhile, US oil giants have said they would not follow the move of their European counterparts in demanding climate measures.
Exxon CEO Rex Tillerson said he still thinks data about rising temperatures are “unclear” and added the company would not “fake” a view on climate change.
Photo: mcmees24 via Flickr
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