At divergent summits, oil and climate compete for the crown

By Sara Schonhardt | 03/22/2024 07:01 AM EDT

Energy executives defended a future with fossil fuels in Houston as climate negotiators in Europe discussed what’s next for the transition away from oil and gas.

Saudi Aramco President & CEO Amin Nasser.

Saudi Aramco President & CEO Amin Nasser speaks during the CERAWeek by S&P Global oil summit in Houston. Mark Felix/AFP via Getty Images

Climate officials from dozens of countries gathered Thursday in Denmark to push for faster action to shift their economies away from fossil fuels.

The meeting, known as the Copenhagen Climate Ministerial, differed starkly from a simultaneous conference in Houston, where corporate executives and some energy officials have offered plans for how they can continue to expand oil and gas output.

The contrasting summits underscore growing tensions stemming from the promises of nearly 200 countries to reduce oil, gas and coal as climate pollution pushes global temperatures to record levels, resulting in searing heat waves, prolonged drought and intensifying disasters.


The meetings on both sides of the Atlantic come as President Joe Biden rolls out a flurry of regulatory actions aimed at transforming the country’s transportation system, the largest source of U.S. greenhouse gas emissions, in an attempt to convince voters ahead of the November elections that his policies will help stave off the worst effects of climate change.