Why COP28 is Right to Prioritise Global Methane and Flaring Reduction

Executive summary

  • To deliver the energy transition and meet the Paris Agreement goals, material reductions in all emissions from oil and gas, especially the 20 billion CO2 tonnes per year of “scope 3” emissions from end-use combustion, are imperative. This requires coordinated efforts to reduce both demand and supply.
  • One area that demands immediate prioritisation is reducing waste from flaring, venting, and leaking gas in the oil and gas supply chain, which accounts for 2.6 billion CO2-equivalent tonnes annually, more than double that of airlines. Half of this comes from countries that have not endorsed the “Global Methane Pledge.” It is therefore essential to engage these countries and include them in a collaborative COP28.
  • We are optimistic about the UAE’s role at COP28, as it has already significantly reduced gas flaring through principled leadership. As we highlight, starting in the late 1960s, Sheikh Zayed initiated a major flare reduction programme because “it was the right thing to do”.
  • The UAE can continue this leadership at COP28 by leveraging its unique ability to bridge East, West, North, and South, to accelerate the global focus and on-the-ground action to drive methane and flaring reductions. Encouragingly, this objective aligns with the core mission of the “Global Decarbonisation Alliance,” an industry-led group convened for COP28.
  • To ensure success, COP28 must prioritise three objectives: Firstly, it should focus on developing “committed engagement” by emphasising positive economic opportunities and promoting constructive and inclusive engagement. Secondly, it should establish a “project development” fund that identifies, prioritises, and de-risks on-the-ground decarbonisation investments, making them investment-ready. And thirdly, it should unlock and diversify capital to scale up the deployment of proven solutions while also showcasing and celebrating recent success cases.
  • With the UAE hosting COP28, the world has a unique opportunity where principled leadership meets pragmatic solutioneering. This moment must not be wasted.

The full version of the paper will be published shortly and is also available on request.