The US Climate Change urges the oil industry to accelerate the transition to renewable energies

© Reuters. FILE PHOTO: US President-elect Joe Biden announces the announcement of the National Security Team at his interim headquarters in Wilmington, Delaware

By Valerie Volcovici

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – US Climate Commissioner John Kerry on Tuesday called on oil and gas companies to do more to diversify and adopt low-carbon technologies to combat climate change.

Speaking to oil managers in favor of continuing to produce oil and gas at the virtual CERAWeek conference, Kerry called on the US to accelerate the development of hydrogen, carbon capture and other emission reduction technologies.

“I think the fossil fuel industry could clearly do a lot more to become a full-fledged energy industry that leverages some of these new technologies,” Kerry said in an interview with former US Secretary of Energy, Ernest Moniz.

The coronavirus pandemic has accelerated the transition to renewable fuels and electrification of key elements of energy use. Global majors have caught up and responded to calls from investors to reduce production of fuels that contribute to global warming.

The United States will announce a new greenhouse gas emission reduction target for the next decade at a global leaders’ summit on April 22, he said. President Joe Biden, who appointed Kerry, announced on that first day of January that America would rejoin the Paris Agreement.

Biden, in his first few weeks as president, canceled a presidential permit that would have allowed the Keystone XL pipeline to be built from Canada and is taking steps to limit the development of new oil and gas reserves that could cap new leases for states .

His actions have been criticized by oil managers who believe it will make the United States more dependent on oil imports from countries other than neighboring Canada or Mexico.

“We achieved energy independence by just looking at North America – Canada, the United States and Mexico – and now we will again import 60% to 70% of our crude oil from OPEC if they enforce our ban and stop production” said Scott Sheffield, chief executive officer at Natural resource pioneer (NYSE 🙂 Co.

Chevron Michael Wirth, CEO of Corp (NYSE :), said in a separate meeting that the oil industry and the US government can join forces to advance low-carbon fuels.

“Should play a very important role,” added Wirth. “This is an area where there should be common ground.”

In his remarks, Kerry also stressed the need for a major investment in energy infrastructure in the United States to accelerate the adoption of renewable energy and urged states like Texas to oppose modernizing the US electricity network.

“We need a smart grid. It saves us a lot of money, reduces emissions and creates the capacity to meet the base load challenges,” said Kerry, adding that the US could dramatically increase its use of renewable energy.

“But we need to get rid of some of our chauvinism and parochial components that resist common sense and the need to move very quickly to achieve this,” he added.

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