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Russia and Saudi Arabia oppose proposals to cut oil and gas expenditures, calling the International Energy Agency’s net-zero path “unrealistic.”

Story Highlights
  • On Thursday, Russian Deputy Prime Minister Alexander Novak stated at the St. Petersburg International Economic Forum that the IEA came at its conclusions “by employing reverse calculations” on how to reach net-zero emissions by 2050.
  • “In my opinion, this is an overly simplistic approach. According to a translation, Novak told CNBC's Hadley Gamble, "It's also impractical."
  • His remarks came after Saudi Arabia's Energy Minister, Prince Abdulaziz bin Salman, laughed about the IEA study earlier this week at an online press conference

LONDON: Two of the world’s major oil-producing countries intend to disobey the International Energy Agency’s recommendations and continue investing in oil and gas, rejecting demands to severely reduce the use of fossil fuels in the face of a worsening climate disaster.

It comes at a time when governments are under enormous pressure to deliver on pledges made as part of the Paris Agreement, a landmark agreement largely seen as vital to avoiding the most destructive effects of climate change.

In 2015, over 200 nations, including Russia and Saudi Arabia, joined the Paris climate agreement, pledging to pursue measures to limit global warming to 1.5 degrees Celsius over pre-industrial levels. By 2050, the pact calls for net-zero greenhouse gas emissions.

Surprisingly, the world’s main energy expert issued its worst warning yet on global fossil fuel consumption this month, stating that new oil and gas field development must cease this year if the world is to achieve net-zero emissions by the middle of the century.

The IEA did not immediately respond to a request for comment. To be sure, the top global watchdog believes that stopping oil, gas, and coal production is critical to meeting the internationally agreed-upon target of net-zero emissions.

His remarks came after Saudi Arabia’s Energy Minister, Prince Abdulaziz bin Salman, laughed about the IEA study earlier this week at an online press conference.

His reaction to the story came just after OPEC and non-OPEC partners — an energy alliance known as OPEC+ — agreed to progressively reduce output curbs in the coming months as oil prices rose.

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