The energy crisis risks impeding as well as progressing decarbonisation efforts, reveals new research by global professional services company GHD. The study, which surveyed more than 450 senior energy decision-makers worldwide, found that in response to the energy crisis, 47% have delayed net-zero plans by an average of six years, 42% have accelerated plans by an average of five years and just 11% have made no changes.

Despite the widespread delays to net-zero plans, when it comes to actual investments, the crisis has spurred 47% of leaders to invest more into their net-zero targets, 39% to decrease investments and 14% to make no changes, finds the research, published this month.

The authors note that 94% of senior energy leaders describe the current crisis as the most severe crisis their market has ever encountered. Furthermore, 76% of these leaders believe that the energy industry faces greater pressure to decarbonise than any other sector.

In the UK, the energy crisis continues to be a pressing concern for both households and businesses. On 16 June, members of Parliament urged the government to outline its strategies for protecting households from soaring energy bills next winter. In the UK, 69% of energy leaders have accelerated investment into net-zero targets, while 11% have reduced it.

Even traditional oil and gas producers are accelerating their investments into renewables, find the research. For instance, in the United Arab Emirates (UAE), which will host the next UN climate summit (COP28) in November, 61% of energy companies have expedited their investments into renewable energies in response to the crisis, finds the research.

“Despite being a prominent global oil producer and thus less vulnerable to supply shocks, the UAE has recognised the importance of diversification and has significantly bolstered investments in energy transition projects,” said Tom Foley, executive director of future energy at GHD, in a press statement. “As the upcoming host of COP28 later this year, there are international expectations on the nation to uphold its net-zero aspirations and facilitate the energy transition.”

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