The finance minister of Iraq, one of the founding members of the global oil cartel Opec, has made an unprecedented call to fellow oil producers to move away from fossil fuel dependency and into renewable energy, ahead of a key Opec meeting.
Ali Allawi, the deputy prime minister and finance minister of Iraq, has written in the Guardian to urge oil producers to pursue “an economic renewal focused on environmentally sound policies and technologies” that would include solar power and potentially nuclear reactors, and reduce their dependency on fossil fuel exports.
Along with the executive director of the International Energy Agency, Fatih Birol, he wrote: “To stand a chance of limiting the worst effects of climate change, the world needs to fundamentally change the way it produces and consumes energy, burning less coal, oil and natural gas … If oil revenues start to decline before producer countries have successfully diversified their economies, livelihoods will be lost and poverty rates will increase.”
Ministers of the 13 Opec member nations are scheduled to meet virtually on Wednesday to negotiate potential curbs to oil production, as oil prices waver. Opec had earlier agreed to boost production as economies recover from the Covid-19 pandemic, but slowing markets have led some to suggest a halt to the increase.