Topic & Council Description
United Nations Environment Programme (unep)
Topic: Oil and Gas Operations in Great Rift Valley
In the recent light of East Africa Rift Valley oil discovery, questions regarding the continuation of exploitation efforts all around the world have once again resurfaced. It is without question that a lot of times, infrastructure built for oil and gas extraction can leave behind radical and severe impacts on environmentally sensitive areas. The construction of roads, facilities and drilling sites requires the use of heavy equipment and can destroy big chunks of pristine wilderness and endanger the biodiversity it contains. Yet, despite all of this, the Ugandan and Tanzanian governments together with oil firms have signed an accord to build the East African Crude Oil Pipeline (EACOP.) A 1,445-kilometer pipeline that will transport oil from Hoima, Uganda to the port of Tanga in Tanzania. The argument given for going ahead with the pipeline is that it will ignite development in the region. However, investments in fossil fuels are a dead end and developing such a huge Oil Pipeline will not only support the extraction of oil that is driving climate change, but also lead to social and environmental challenges such as massive land-grabbing, threats to land and marine ecosystems as well as biodiversity loss, combined with air and water pollution leading to serious health impacts for Tanzanians and Ugandans. This, combined with the fact that Tanzania and Uganda are amongst the peak of biodiverse areas in the world, had raised some major concerns around sustainability of oil and gas extraction.
United nations development programme (undp)
Topic: Role of Oil in Clean Transition
The COVID-19 crisis has triggered a world-wide, near material drop in global energy demand. Although demand is expected to rebound in one to four years, it does not return to the previous growth path. Oil suffers a more terrible fate than gas, being one of the slowest industries to recuperate (McKinsey, 2021). However, this is not the biggest threat the oil and gas industry faces. Even before the pandemic strikes, pressure was building to shift the energy system towards a more sustainable future, as investors' interests in resilient assets are sharpening more than ever. Policy makers, investors, and society are pressing for change, threatening operators’ licenses and eligibility to produce said fuel.
As of May, Spain became the latest country to ban new oil and gas production within its territory, following France. The demand to create a net-zero industry through renewable sources such as geothermal, wind, and sun-generated energy will inevitably left oil and gas industry behind. However, if hypothetically oil and gas production is to cease at this moment, nearly all activity on earth will halt immediately. Aside from energy, oil and gas-based products such as asphalt, plastic, wax, or even polyester used for cheap clothes will also be unable to be procured. There needs to be a transition effort from all member states to ensure the continuity of global economic activity. Transition policy proposed should also be palatable to member states that rely on oil and gas as their primary source of income. One crude example is how EU energy tax proposals managed to retain natural gas as a “transition fuel”, and give some leniency to its production and tax rate. The international community needs to band together in order to fill all the gaps of our transitioning period, through the support of oil and gas.