• 3 minutes e-car sales collapse
  • 6 minutes America Is Exceptional in Its Political Divide
  • 11 minutes Perovskites, a ‘dirt cheap’ alternative to silicon, just got a lot more efficient
  • 11 days Does Toyota Know Something That We Don’t?
  • 11 hours "What’s In Store For Europe In 2023?" By the CIA (aka RFE/RL as a ruse to deceive readers)
  • 5 days America should go after China but it should be done in a wise way.
  • 14 hours World could get rid of Putin and Russia but nobody is bold enough
  • 12 hours How Far Have We Really Gotten With Alternative Energy
  • 1 day The European Union is exceptional in its political divide. Examples are apparent in Hungary, Slovakia, Sweden, Netherlands, Belarus, Ireland, etc.
  • 2 days Even Shell Agrees with Climate Change!
  • 4 days Oil Stocks, Market Direction, Bitcoin, Minerals, Gold, Silver - Technical Trading <--- Chris Vermeulen & Gareth Soloway weigh in

Breaking News:

OPEC Lifts Production in February

Canada Oil Faces Fresh Pipeline Shortage

Canada Oil Faces Fresh Pipeline Shortage

Canadian oil production could hit…

EIA Confirms Moderate Crude Build, Products Draw

EIA Confirms Moderate Crude Build, Products Draw

Crude oil prices went lower…

Irina Slav

Irina Slav

Irina is a writer for Oilprice.com with over a decade of experience writing on the oil and gas industry.

More Info

Premium Content

Activists Demand An Immediate End To Oil Production

Europe may be in the grips of an energy shortage and forced to reopen retired coal plants to cope but climate activists insist that it is time to part company with fossil fuels, the sooner, the better. According to them, this is a simple solution to the world’s emission problems.  “It is overflowing with too much carbon. The world can’t absorb any more,” said Tom Goldtooth, an activist and the executive director of the North American Indigenous Environmental Network on the sidelines of COP26, as quoted by CNBC. “The simple solution, that we are still demanding, is the world has to turn the valve off.”

Yet the solution of turning off the valve appears to not be as simple as it may sound. Goldtooth is neither the first nor the last activist to call for an immediate end to oil and gas production. Earlier this year, following the release of the latest report of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, the very head of the UN, Antonio Guterres slammed oil and gas.

"This report must sound a death knell for coal and fossil fuels before they destroy our planet," he said, adding "Countries should also end all new fossil fuel exploration and production, and shift fossil fuel subsidies into renewable energy."

Also earlier this year, the International Energy Agency published a roadmap to net zero, in which it called for the end of all new oil and gas exploration. Only a few months later, the IEA called on OPEC to boost new oil and gas exploration in order to ensure an adequate supply of hydrocarbons amid fast-growing demand.

The IEA’s contradictory stances are a perfect illustration of how challenging the “simple solution” of turning the oil taps off is in reality. Shell’s chief executive put it succinctly in comments on the historic court ruling that obliged the supermajor to cut its carbon footprint substantially.

Related: U.S. Oil Industry Warns Of Sharply Higher Costs

“Imagine Shell decided to stop selling petrol and diesel today,” Ben van Beurden wrote in a LinkedIn post. “This would certainly cut Shell’s carbon emissions. But it would not help the world one bit. Demand for fuel would not change. People would fill up their cars and delivery trucks at other service stations.

It is the demand side of the hydrocarbon equation that climate activists regularly appear to choose to overlook, focused with laser precision on the production side. When the pandemic started last year, many, including BP, claimed we are already past peak oil demand. As lockdowns eased, however, reality reasserted itself and it turned out that demand for oil has not, in fact, peaked at all.

Now, investment banks, the International Energy Agency, and the U.S. Energy Information Administration are all forecasting greater demand still next year. Investment banks are also projecting higher oil prices because they expect demand to be greater than supply after the first quarter. In fact, some are forecasting much higher prices for oil. What this means, aside from market speculation, is that the supply of oil is expected to remain too tight to meet expected demand for most of 2022.

What this context suggests for calls to turn off the valve is not exactly a better world, although it would certainly be a lower-emission world, for a while. Global emissions fell last year while hundreds of millions stayed home during the lockdowns. As soon as the lockdowns were over, people got out and emissions began to rise. It is hardly a wonder that the idea surfaced that we needed the equivalent of the 2020 Covid-19 lockdowns in order to cope with emission control.

This idea may yet gain traction amid activist calls for an end to oil and gas. Activists—and scientists, by the way—warn that the Paris Agreement targets are impossible to achieve with current efforts. In fact, scientists have estimated that we need to put a lot more effort into reducing emissions, halving current levels over the next eight years, in order to have a chance of meeting the Paris Agreement goals and chiefly the goal of reducing the global temperature rise to 1.5 degrees Celsius by the end of the century.

To be fair, the 1.5-degree scenario was until recently commonly referred to as the more ambitious and therefore less likely to succeed scenario. The 2-degree scenario was the one recognized as more within our powers. Now, it appears that the 1.5-degree scenario is the one we should strive for, whatever it takes.


And whatever it takes might include national lockdowns and, if activists get heard at a high enough level, cuts in oil and gas production, which, as IHS Markit’s Daniel Yergin warned earlier this year, would lead to more energy crunches like the one currently ravaging Europe. Because demand for energy is going nowhere. In fact, demand for energy on a global scale is set to increase substantially in the coming years. Policy-makers and activists both need to refocus their attention on that part of the hydrocarbon equation.

By Irina Slav for Oilprice.com

More Top Reads From Oilprice.com:

Download The Free Oilprice App Today

Back to homepage

Leave a comment
  • Carlos Everett on December 30 2021 said:
    Lets go back to 1970 and these same nuts were predicting that the world was going to go into a major freeze, yet 50 years later now were are going to overheat the world. So which prediction is right-yet these idiots want to spend Trillions of dollars yet, they cannot prove the 2030 prediction.

    These are my tax dollars to and i do not want them spent until, 2030 and lets see if we are freezing or warming- These people like Biden want to spend trillions and they have an investment in this warming so imagine, they get rich, yet the earth does not overheat, yet no one remember to reimburse us for the trillions when they are wrong. Bullshit-put this to a vote of the American voters to see if they want to spend this kind of money-if the politicians are honest, they will put this to a vote.
  • Skip Potskutnik on December 30 2021 said:
    Absolutely everything in our modern world is either made directly from fossil fuel products, or made by processes that depend upon energy produced by fossil fuels.
    Any activist demanding an end to oil production should renounce the use of:
    Plastics, paints, metals, roads, cars, trucks, airplanes, refrigeration, food produced using diesel-powered farming machinery, etc. In other words, begin living in prehistoric conditions. No clothes, shoes, food, refrigeration, heat, housing, running water, etc.. Good luck with that.
  • Mamdouh Salameh on December 31 2021 said:
    Environmental activists, oil and gas divestment campaigners and their supporters like the IEA live on a different planet. The most rational way to deal with them is to ignore them and deprive them of a platform from which to voice their dogmatic and misjudged views. They have a political agenda which has nothing to do with climate change and CO2 emissions.

    Oil and gas are here to stay well into the future for the benefit of the global economy and the world at large.

    Dr Mamdouh G Salameh
    International Oil Economist
    Visiting Professor of Energy Economics at ESCP Europe Business School, London
  • JRW   on December 31 2021 said:
    Not a problem. As long as there is an immediate end to their consumption of oil, in all of its forms.
  • James P Chubb on December 31 2021 said:
    That phrase: "we demand..."
    Can you imagine the world depression, the death and starvation?
  • DoRight Deikins on January 01 2022 said:
    Dr. Salameh says « They have a political agenda which has nothing to do with climate change and CO2 emissions. » You are absolutely correct. It's called command and control and it is won by forcing the people to be dependent on Big Brother for everything.

    Carlos, I read an engineering/power textbook from the 1970s in which it was stated that probably peak oil would occur in the early 80s (unless they could find a way to tap the tight oil deposits - in Colorado!).

    Skip, you skipped a few things. All activists demanding an end to oil production should also renounce the use of: computers, cell phones, tablets, medical equipment, and horror of all horrors, their TVs. And I'm betting PETA would squawk if people had to start killing animals with sticks and recyclable flint blades (low carbon) for clothing and fighting wild boars (largely unsuccessfully) for their meager quinoa and sorghum crops.

    Now I have to admit that I am kinda fond of elevated levels of CO2. My fruit trees are producing bumper crops (even double crops!). It seems that my hardest task is keeping them properly trimmed. (I won't tell you what I do with the trimmed branches. Check Jn15:6 in the Bible for a possible answer!) And my timber trees have been growing at breakneck speed. I can't say that CO2 is definitely the reason, but since so much else is blamed on it, I might as well join the crowd.
  • News View on January 12 2022 said:
    The price of oil is intrinsically linked to inflation. I don't think people appreciate that "bare shelves" is not just a Biden economy problem. It is not just a pandemic problem. It is a global problem caused by a Perfect Storm convergence of the pandemic with "cooperation" among producers, financial institutions and governments to lower carbon emissions by cutting production. The end result is inflation in the First World and increased food insecurity in the much of the rest of the world. This will certainly sour even climate change supporters on the notion that governments and private industry are partnering in a responsible way.

    The irony should not be missed: One cannot take a wrecking ball to the global economy and expect capital to continue pouring into "clean energy" alternatives. As inflation rises and consumer spending craters, investors will be more cautious about less established technologies, which will slow the overall pace of clean energy innovation and change.

    Do climate activists and their government enablers appreciate that they may be setting into motion a DEATH SENTENCE for sustainable carbon reductions? For every action, we must anticipate an equal but opposite reaction: As we cut oil production in the U.S., Canada and E.U. — only for OPEC has been called to make up that shortfall even as China builds dozens more coal powered plants! Should this surprise anyone? The global energy "pie" will not shrink simply because we artificially limit the supply of fossil fuels!

    A top-down approach may provide temporary relief from rising carbon emissions but in the long run it is destined to backfire. Skyrocketing inflation and declining living standards, above all else, will spawn widespread public climate skepticism for which no amount of media efforts to blame it on political infighting and malfeasance will obscure the fact that climate change has become a global economic threat. While intentions may be good on the part of activists, this much will become clear to financial markets and consumers alike: There is no top-down political "shortcut" to a clean energy future. Alternative energy sources must be readily available so as to make fossil fuel demand a self-atrophying relic — not because climate accords brought about an end to oil exploration but because STEM innovation displaced fossil fuel demands.

    The general public, for their part, should appreciate this much: Everything about modern life from the fertilizer needed in food production to pharmaceuticals — even COVID-19 vaccines! — to the plastics and synthetic fabrics of modern life (to include "vegan" alternatives to leather!) are made possible by fossil fuel-powered manufacturing. We can't simply pull the rug out from under the old technology and expect other aspects of life to remain untouched. Supply chain crisis will become a permanent part of life so long as we deny the Domino effect.

    It's time for the Davos crowd and the World Economic Forum to set aside their Utopist pipe dream of cracking down on consumerism (i.e. Capitalism) to "solve" climate crisis. There is a time and a place for changing consumerist cultural norms — but we are not there. Right now the priority must be on CLEAN ENERGY SOLUTIONS — nothing more, nothing less. This calls for a global Climate Manhattan Project — to innovate solutions rather than sacrifice modern life as we know it to technocratic carbon reduction schemes.

    For better or for worse, the global economy in 2022 continues to rest on fossil fuels. Anyone who heads a government, financial institution or activist organization needs to understand that we can't mandate our way out of climate change any more than vaccine mandates have delivered on their promise of bringing about herd immunity (an impossibility given that COVID-19 vaccines do not stop transmission even among 100% vaccinated populations on navy vessels and elsewhere such conditions exist). The use of technocratic schemes to reduce carbon emissions are short-lived at best — placing the proverbial cart in front of the horse at the risk of a long-term setback for anyone who sincerely wishes to realize a clean energy future. Make no mistake: STEM solutions are the only path forward. Everything else is political theater — if not a WEF/Davos crowd windfall — at the ultimate expense of a sustainable economy and a clean energy future.

Leave a comment

EXXON Mobil -0.35
Open57.81 Trading Vol.6.96M Previous Vol.241.7B
BUY 57.15
Sell 57.00
Oilprice - The No. 1 Source for Oil & Energy News