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A massive document leak has revealed efforts by Saudi Arabia, Japan, and Australia, among others, were lobbying the United Nations to downplay the urgency of the energy transition as presented in the latest report by the International Panel on Climate Change.
The BBC reports that the leak also reveals an unwillingness of wealthy nations to shoulder part of the burden that the energy transition would put on poorer nations.
According to the report, the leak consists of more than 32,000 submissions by governments, companies, and other parties to the IPCC. In these, there were comments against the wording of the report's conclusions and outright rejections of some of these conclusions.
For instance, the BBC writes, one adviser to the Saudi oil ministry commented that "phrases like 'the need for urgent and accelerated mitigation actions at all scales…' should be eliminated from the report".
Saudi Arabia also wanted the authors to delete the conclusion that "the focus of decarbonisation efforts in the energy systems sector needs to be on rapidly shifting to zero-carbon sources and actively phasing out fossil fuels".
A senior Australian official rejected the call for closing all coal-fired power plants—one of the main goals of the COP26 meeting, which begins this Sunday and will last for two weeks, during which world leaders will try to agree on how to conduct the energy transition.
India is also against the closing of coal power plants. In the leaked documents that the BBC saw, one scientist from the Indian Central Institute of Mining and Fuel Research said the country would likely remain dependent on coal for much of its energy in the future because of "tremendous challenges" in the path of providing affordable electricity to people.
The "pro-oil" commentators on the IPCC report also strongly supported technologies such as carbon capture and storage despite their current high costs, the BBC reported.
By Charles Kennedy for Oilprice.com
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Charles is a writer for Oilprice.com