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Global leaders must weigh energy poverty while setting climate policies: Barkindo

Highlights

OPEC chief points to volatility risks from declining investment

Net-zero goals hard to balance with energy security: Croft

The UN climate talks in November must ensure developing countries' access to affordable, reliable energy when setting the pace of the energy transition to cleaner fuels, OPEC Secretary General Mohammed Barkindo said Sept. 27.

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Barkindo said the US should take the lead at the 26th UN Climate Change Conference of the Parties in Glasgow, Scotland, and bring in all stakeholders, including developed and developing countries, energy producers, and consumers.

"The outcome of Glasgow must be all-inclusive, it must be comprehensive, it must be sustainable going forward," Barkindo said during the Atlantic Council Global Energy Center event.

Barkindo said the current gas crisis in Europe demonstrates the risks ahead if continued declines in oil and gas investment cause market volatility, particularly if supply falls but demand does not.

"We could see crude oil and product shortages, all of which would have an impact on the global economy," he said. "We need to be wary of unintended consequences."

Helima Croft, RBC Capital Markets managing director and global head of commodity strategy, said the Biden administration has made its net-zero-by-2030 target central to its entire policy agenda, while at the same time calling on OPEC producers to pump more supply to ease global oil prices.

"They're trying to navigate getting everybody mobilized around this, while at the same time ensuring that consumers have access to affordable energy," Croft said. "It's not an easy line to walk, is what they're finding out."

Croft added that Western policymakers are not clear how much they want the oil and gas industry to be part of the energy transition debate. She said consumers could start to revolt against net-zero agendas if energy access and affordability become major issues.

"I do think it's a really important inflection moment," she said.