The Executive Secretary of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change, Christiana Figueres, gave a speech at the 5th OPEC International Seminar, held at Vienna in June 2012.
I must say this was a brilliant move. Beginning by reassuring Oil Producing Countries that the demand for oil will continue to increase even with successful climate change mitigation policies in place, she proceeded to point out a strategic approach that represents a win-win solution for both OPEC and the fight against climate change:
“Our aim should be an economic system that strategically directs oil toward the highest margin specialty markets, generating the most amount of economic benefit for each barrel of oil’s emissions.”
Higher margins mean higher profits for oil producing countries. Although this was not voiced, higher oil prices are also vital to anticipate the arrival of a low-carbon future. Cheap oil has been undermining and delaying the further technological development and large scale deployment of alternative energy sources and energy carriers, such as solar energy and hydrogen, respectively.
Christiana Figueres also took the opportunity to point that the optimization of the internal use of energy in Oil Producing Countries, through the implementation of energy efficiency measures, are a way to increase the availability of oil and gas for export.
Adapted from: UNFCCC, 2012.