The idea of Net Zero emissions in climate change relates to the balance between removing heat trapping greenhouse gas emissions in the atmosphere against the production of those gases from sources like fossil fuels.
The goal is to successfully limit global warming to 1.5 degrees by 2050. This is an important target as we are currently on a course to increase global warming by 3 degrees this century. This will be the highest level for over 800,000 years and will result in continued hardship and impact on our communities and countries. The increase in global temperature is responsible for flooding, food and water shortages, draught, wildfires, reduced growing seasons, coral reef loss, increased intensity of hurricane, typhone and tornado, increased heatwaves and the spread of uninhabitable lands. In many region environmental loss results in famine, war, increase conflict and economic hardship.
While many factors are contributing to global warming the oil and gas industry accounts for 42% of all greenhouse gas emissions. And while this sector has had little incentive to adopt new technology to improve production techniques, it is experiencing a similar technological revolution to that of the aerospace industry. For the past 20 years space exploration and advancements has moved from government lead programs like NASA to private sector companies. This trend has produced a massive surge in technology as companies compete to build rockets and ultimately the tools required to inhabit mars.
While oils and gas is the largest industry in the world its incentive has come from the public’s awareness that alternate energy sources will take decades to replace fossil fuels. Market forces, government regulations and the public demand for cleaner energy is making CO2 reduction in oil and gas good business. As a result improving and decarbonizing the processing of fossil fuels through new technology is booming. New methods are being developed and implemented to align with the net zero goals set for 2050.
With the cost of pollution and greenhouse gas emissions now clearly linked to poorer health and living conditions globally, the oil and gas sector is playing a key role in reducing CO2 emissions. Adopting new technologies to reduce GHG in production and at source makes good business sense. These new oil and gas technologies are reducing flaring, preventing leaks and venting, upgrading power requirements in production, and storing and sequestering CO2 gas.
Challenges exist on many fronts to reach the net zero goal for 2050. None more obvious then the sheer size of the oil and gas industry and the ability to scale up technology to have a meaningful impact. It is obvious that projects to reduce GHG emissions are in their infancy but will become viable production solutions and help to ensure oil and gas as a sustainable choice for energy in the decades to come.