COP26 President draws flak for openly supporting investment by oil and gas cos

New Delhi, May 2 : Days after the developed world sought to belittle India for continued oil imports from Russia, COP26 president Alok Sharma's endorsement of a letter by UK's Secretary, Business, Energy & Industrial Strategy on Sunday came under severe criticism from all quarters for encouraging fossil fuel going against his role of head of the climate negotiations conference. Sharma has been the COP president since the last climate change conference was held at Glasgow (COP26) in UK in November 2021. Sharma is known for his almost theatrical gestures of weeping when the CO26 concluded with words "phasing down coal" on India's insistence rather than "phasing out". COP negotiations are held annually to decide collective actions to reduce emissions so as to restrict global temperature rise to less than 1.5 degrees Celsius compared to the pre-industrial era. "Investment by oil and gas companies in 'new clean energy technology'.... And we need a proper accelerated plan to make this happen. The future of energy has to be clean and green (sic)," Sharma had quote tweeted a tweet by his country's Business, Energy & Industrial Strategy Secretary, Kwasi Kwarteng. Kwarteng's tweet had said: "The North Sea is vital to our energy security, so I will launch another licensing round later this year. In return, I want oil and gas companies to reinvest their profits into the UK, so we all feel the benefit -- jobs, growth, new clean energy technology. I think that's fair along with the image of an appeal 'Accelerating investment to protect Britain's energy security." T. Jayaraman, Senior Fellow, Climate Change, M.S. Swaminathan Research Foundation, tweeted: "Shocking tweet by the President of #COP26. Were his dramatics at the closing plenary in Glasgow for real? Here he is, tweeting support to immediate expansion of UK oil and gas. What "new clean energy technology" is he talking about? (sic)." In fact, the COP President endorsing that appeal/letter that said: "I want to also be clear that we will not bend to the will of activists who naively want us to extinguish production in the UK Continental Shelf has drawn widespread criticism from some influential western personalities too. Tejal Kanitkar, Associate Professor at National Institute of Advance Studies (NIAS), Bengaluru tweeted: "#COP26 President tweets support for oil and gas for the UK, for 'decades to come'. Seems like we now have an unequal atmosphere as well. One that can discriminate between CO2 molecules from oil, gas, and coal...or based on which part of the world they emerge from perhaps?" /IANS


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