Much of the world’s focus at the COP26 climate summit was on coal. But another campaign against fossil fuels gained momentum during the event, and that one promises to be more uncomfortable for Japan’s government and big energy firms than the conversation over coal.
The summit served as the backdrop for the formation of the Beyond Oil and Gas Alliance (BOGA). Among signatories are countries such as Denmark, France, Sweden, and New Zealand, while the state of California and Canada’s Quebec also joined. BOGA’s aim is to “limit” new sources of oil and gas while acting to “phase out” existing production.
Japan did not sign up to BOGA. But while the country’s top 10 firms involved in finding new sources of oil and gas may breathe more easily than counterparts in Europe and the U.S., BOGA and other campaigns to stymie hydrocarbon development cannot be easily dismissed. For one, BOGA members have a voice in some of the areas in which Japanese firms currently operate.
While the government continues to support a target for Japan to be more “self-sufficient” in terms of access to oil and gas resources it’s unlikely that upstream firms will face trouble with accessing finance. However, COP26 confirmed that all industries must now grapple with the challenge of reducing emissions and striving toward net-zero targets. No sector will feel the pressure greater than the upstream operations of oil and gas firms, which account for almost two-thirds of the industry’s greenhouse gas emissions.