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The role of natural gas and oil in meeting Paris Agreement goals

Trade and other associations from the world over present a joint submission at COP 26 to guide pathways to global emissions reduction.

In November 2021, representatives from around the world gather for the 26th Conference of the Parties (COP26) of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) in Glasgow, Scotland, to continue addressing the issue of global emissions and climate change.


At COP 26, a group of natural gas and oil associations from around the world, including several in Canada, presented a joint discussion paper calling for an inclusive and collaborative approach in achieving the goals of the Paris Agreement. This approach requires increasing, not restricting, access to responsibly produced and lower emission natural gas and oil.

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“Our industry has a critical role to play in lowering emissions while reducing energy poverty and advancing economic prosperity,” said Juan Manuel Delgado, President, Mexican Association of Hydrocarbon Companies. “Meeting this challenge requires new policies, continuous innovation, and most importantly, collaboration with society and governments. We are committed to working collaboratively with the Mexican Government to build a lower-carbon future, share industry innovations, and strengthen energy security for Mexico, and the entire region.”


The document, titled The Role of the Natural Gas and Oil Industry in Meeting the Goals of the Paris Agreement, outlines joint guiding principles and policy priorities that the signatories propose to help focus discussion on important aspects of the Paris Agreement. Guiding principles include:

  • The natural gas and oil industry commits to continue working collaboratively with governments to meet GHG emissions reduction goals consistent with the ambitions of the Paris Agreement.
  • Responsibly produced natural gas and oil can help countries, especially developing countries, make progress towards ambitious Nationally Determined Contributions (NDCs).
  • Energy infrastructure will play an integral role in achieving a lower-GHG emission future but requires support from policymakers and international financial institutions (IFIs).
  • Technology and innovation is crucial to reducing GHG emissions in the oil and natural gas industry and can enable the accelerated deployment of promising emerging energy technologies.

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One of the monumental efforts involved in delivering on the Paris Agreement’s global climate goals is to collectively meet the world’s long-term need for affordable, reliable energy while moving toward a lower-carbon future.

The discussion paper notes, “By promoting use of cleaner-burning natural gas and incorporating groundbreaking technologies like carbon capture, utilization and storage (CCUS), our members are lowering emissions while also reducing global energy poverty and increasing economic prosperity.”

Carbon capture utilization and storage infographic

Among the consortium is Verner Ayukegba, Senior Vice President, African Energy Chamber, who said, “Today in Africa there are 580 million people who lack access to any kind of electricity and that number is expected to grow. As the cost of energy increases globally, African nations will be left behind in the energy transition should it be asked to undergo a catastrophic rapid transition at a pace foreign to its realities. Sustainable development of the continent’s vast natural gas resources is a strong instrument in our continent’s fight against energy poverty.”

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Stephen Buffalo, President and CEO, Indian Resource Council of Canada, said, “Canada’s oil and gas industry is certainly a model of sustainable resource development. Many indigenous groups have partnered with industry and have derived many benefits that have sustained their economies. We now have a strong voice and are consulted often to ensure development occurs with our participation and input while ensuring respect for the environment. We strongly disagree with activists and others who are bent on shutting down these opportunities which are now at our doorsteps.”

Achieving the goals of the Paris Agreement means finding solutions the challenges posed by climate change and addressing the energy needs of the global population, especially those lacking access to the reliable energy for economic growth and improved standards of living.