Mar 10, 2022 - Energy & Environment

Oil giants: You need us on climate

A sprig sprouting from a pile of soil in a briefcase

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

HOUSTON — Top oil industry officials say they deserve a seat at the table when it comes to tackling climate change — and argue there's really no choice anyway.

Driving the news: "At COP26 the energy industry was not invited to have a seat at the table to find solutions to the transition to alternatives," Saudi Aramco CEO Amin Nasser said at the CERAWeek by S&P Global conference here Tuesday, referring to the big UN climate summit in late 2021.

  • He said incumbent energy companies have the experience and expertise and capital to deliver on major projects.

The big picture: Other executives here have offered a similar take.

  • "While we may show up as kind of a strange person or entity to be at the climate change table, I think we're 100% needed there," Shell USA President Gretchen Watkins said during a panel.
  • "We're good at building relationships with governments and partnerships with each other. We're good at actually doing things at scale," she said.

Yes, but: Critics of the industry argue they're talking the talk more than walking the walk, noting that zero-carbon energy remains a small share of capital spending.

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