Climate change and emissions

Global average temperature has risen by approximately 1°C since the late 19th century

Global weather patterns change over time, driven by natural and human factors. The long-term measurement of weather in a region is known as its climate. Changes to the climate are likely to result in disruptions to water resources, ecosystems and crop yields, as well as increased weather-related extremes, vulnerability of marginalised populations and sea level rise. Human activities including the use of fossil fuels for energy as well as agriculture, deforestation and other industries are releasing increased amounts of greenhouse gases such as carbon dioxide and methane into the atmosphere. Elevated concentrations of these gases trap increased solar radiation in the atmosphere and are the primary cause of warming of the Earth, and particularly the oceans (IPCC).

Current scientific evidence suggests there is a higher risk of significant and possibly dangerous changes in the global environment if the global temperature rise passes a 2°C threshold compared to pre-industrial times. Significant efforts by the international community are underway to avoid the worst impacts of climate change; to achieve this, harnessing energy in ways that reduce emissions of greenhouse gases is crucial. Since 1992, most countries have been part of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change, a treaty providing a framework for international cooperation for combating climate change. This was followed by the adoption of the Kyoto Protocol in 1997 which commits its developed country Parties to internationally binding emission reduction targets, and the Paris Agreement in 2015 which sets out an international action plan to limit global temperature rise to well below 2°C above pre-industrial levels. Reaching these targets would require emission patterns to change throughout the global economy. Key opportunities for the energy sector lie in demand side interventions such as energy efficiency and flexible systems, as well as renewable energy sources.

Learn more about climate change and emissions by exploring records published on our Energy Matrix.

For details on the progress in achieving the global and national climate change targets read the Energy World analyses.

Discover UK energy professionals' views of the best measures to reach emissions targets by reading our annual Energy Barometer.

What's new?

ADNOC and Total sign framework agreement on emissions reduction and decarbonisation projects

12-11-2020
The Abu Dhabi National Oil Company (ADNOC) has signed a strategic framework agreement with Total to explore partnership opportunities in the areas of CO2 emission reductions and carbon capture, use and storage (CCUS).Commenting on the news, His Excellency Dr Sultan Ahmed Al Jaber, UAE Minister of In...

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Equinor sets ambition to reach net zero emissions by 2050

2-11-2020
Anders Opedal, who took over as Chief Executive Officer (CEO) and President of Equinor on 2 November 2020, has unveiled the company’s ambition to become a net zero energy company by 2050. This includes emissions from production and final consumption of energy.‘Equinor is committed to being a leader ...

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Space race to cut emissions

1-11-2020
Cutting greenhouse gas emissions is key to a low carbon future, says Jean-Francois Gauthier, VP, Sales and Marketing, GHGSat, an EI Company Member. This vital topic will be addressed at IP Week 2021.

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China tackling climate change

1-11-2020
China is aiming to become carbon neutral by 2060. Wood Mackenzie analysts present their views on an announcement that surprised many industry watchers.

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Only ‘faster structural changes’ can buck emissions trend – IEA

29-10-2020
Without a significant shift in government policies, a global economic rebound could soon push oil demand back to pre-COVID levels. In its annual World Energy Outlook publication, the International Energy Agency (IEA) notes that the world is still a long way from a sustainable pandemic recovery – eve...

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Events and training

EI LIVE free webinar | Energy Policy Debate: UK Energy Policy Priorities for 2021

3-12-2020
Please note that registration closes at 17:00 on 2 December 2020In what has been a turbulent year, this Energy Policy Debate will look forward to what we hope will be better times.

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EI LIVE free webinar | COVID-19: What does this mean for the fight against the climate crisis?

9-12-2020
Host Partner: The Sustainability Forum is endorsed by: Free online launch event for the Middle East Sustainability Forum 2021 9 December 2020, 09:00 GMT |12:00 Bahrain, Kuwait and Saudi Arabia | 13:00 UAE and Oman Platform: WebexPlease note that registration closes at 17:00 on 8 Decembe...

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Renewables: Health, Safety and Sustainability

17-11-2021
Early-bird rate until 10 January 2021 - book before then to save up to £50Build renewables in a safe and sustainable way - ensure that your organisation has the necessary health, safety and sustainability practices in place.

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Middle East HSE and Sustainability Week

21-11-2021
21 - 23 November 2021, Bahrain This week will bring together two conferences, focusing on health, safety, environment (HSE) and sustainability, to deliver essential learning and sharing of international good practice to organisations across the energy industry. Host Partner: The HSE F...

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Middle East Sustainability Forum

23-11-2021
Host Partner: The Sustainability Forum is endorsed by: 23 November 2021, Bahrain This is part of Middle East HSE and Sustainability Week - for the HSE Forum please click here. Sustainability: unmasking a new global landscape "Rather than compounding the [COVID-19] tragedy by allowin...

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Technical guidance publications

Guidelines for the design and operation of petrol vapour emission controls at distribution terminals

2020
This publication supersedes the Guidelines for the design, installation and operation of petrol vapour emission controls at distribution terminals (4th edition), published October 2014.This publication has been prepared by the Vapour Recovery Working Group of the EI’s Distribution and Marketin...

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Guidance on the correct and safe handling of NOx reduction agent (AUS 32/AdBlue)

2020
This publication is free to download for registered users.This publication focuses on the installation of tank, pipe and pumping systems for the storage and dispensing of urea solutions (NOx reduction agent (AUS 32/AdBlue)) used in the treatment of diesel exhaust on vehicles.This document addresses ...

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Guidance on fire, combustible gas and toxic gas detection system development

2020
The purpose of Guidance on fire, combustible gas and toxic gas detection system development is intended to provide guidance on the development and maintenance of an effective and fit-for-purpose fire and gas detection system. The guidance is aimed to provide a consistent approach, applicable for bot...

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Guidance on power station closure, decommissioning and handover for demolition or sale

2020
This publication provides guidance on a typical project process to safely and economically prepare a power station for decommissioning and for its handover in a safe state for demolition. The guidance has been developed based on the experience of operators and references other guidance where appropr...

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Code of safe practice for contractors and retailers managing contractors working on filling stations

2020
This publication is intended for all contractors, subcontractors and self-employed persons who are required to carry out work on a filling station, and for retailers who are required to manage contractors whilst on their premises. It focuses on safety and good practice procedures whilst referencing ...

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