Qatar critical of other nations’ vague net-zero pledges

Simone Foxman October 12, 2021

(Bloomberg) --Qatar, the world’s biggest exporter of liquefied natural gas, said it would be wrong to commit to eliminating planet-warming emissions without having a proper plan in place.

The United Arab Emirates become the first of the Persian Gulf’s petrostates to make such a pledge last week, saying it wanted to be a leader on climate change in the region. Thursday’s announcement came ahead of United Nations-sponsored climate talks starting later this month in Glasgow, Scotland, and known as COP26.

“For me to just come out and say net-zero 2050 would be very sexy,” Saad Al-Kaabi, Qatar’s energy minister, said at an event in Doha on Monday. “But it’s not the right thing.”

Many politicians “are just throwing it out there without a plan,” he said.

Accountability in climate planning seems to work in the corporate world, to some extent. Companies with rigorous targets tend to cut emissions quickly, according to a report by the Science-Based Targets initiative. Setting out a country’s steps to net-zero could help them -- and the international community -- make sure big promises are kept.

The problem is that the UAE and several other nations planning to net-out emissions have offered few details on how they’ll achieve their targets, beyond that they’ll invest more in renewable energy.

Al-Kaabi said that gas, a cleaner fuel than oil or coal, would remain crucial to the global economy for decades. The country is spending almost $30 billion to boost its LNG production capacity by around 50% in the next six years.

The gas shortage in Europe and parts of Asia, which has sent prices soaring, is caused in part by a lack of investment in fossil fuels, Al-Kaabi said.

“People are not investing in oil and gas and the customers will pay because there is not enough oil and gas to go around,” he said. “Environmentalists only want their way. If you go too quickly without a plan, then ultimately you don’t have enough.”

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