Vienna: OPEC’s secretary-general has complained of what he called “unscientific” attacks on the oil industry by climate change campaigners, calling them “perhaps the greatest threat to our industry going forward”.
Speaking in Vienna after a meeting of the oil producers’ club and its partners, Mohammed Barkindo said that as extreme weather events linked to the climate crisis became more common, “there is a growing mass mobilisation of world opinion… against oil”.
“Civil society is being misled to believe oil is the cause of climate change,” he said.
Appearing to refer to the recent wave of school strikes inspired by Swedish teenager Greta Thunberg’s “Fridays for Future” movement, he said children of some colleagues at OPEC’s headquarters “are asking us about their future because.. they see their peers on the streets campaigning against this industry”.
Barkindo added that the “mobilisation” against oil was “beginning to… dictate policies and corporate decisions, including investment in the industry”.
“We believe this industry is part of the solution to the scourge of climate change,” Barkindo said, but did not elaborate on what this would entail.
The 2015 international Paris accord saw nations commit to limiting global temperature rises to “well below” two degrees Celsius (3.6 Fahrenheit) and to a safer cap of 1.5C if possible.
To do so, scientists say the world must drastically slash its greenhouse gas emissions, a large proportion of which comes from burning fossil fuels for energy — including oil.