Oman’s Minister of Energy and Minerals, Dr Mohammed bin Hamad al Rumhy (pictured), has repeated his call for a prudent and practical pathway to the achievement of Net Zero targets necessary to put the brakes on global warming trends responsible for climate change.
In a message featured in the debut edition of Spark, the digital magazine of the National Youth Programme (NYP), a grouping of young Omani energy professionals established in 2018, Dr Al Rumhy also appealed for the youth to be fully engaged in the campaign to roll back climate change.
“Achieving Net Zero targets must go hand in hand with the energy transition which, in my view, means we should link the two (objectives) to progress towards the target of 2050 in an intelligent and acceptable manner. We don’t want to be extremist one way or the other. I don’t want people to say: Let’s stop the usage or consumption of fossil fuel, like many are calling for. We cannot do that! At the same, we cannot say, it’s business as usual. That’s the other extreme!”
The Minister’s comments are a reiteration of his oft-stated position that nations like the Sultanate of Oman cannot abruptly abandon their dependence on hydrocarbons to sustain economic growth. On the contrary, fossil fuels – particularly relatively greener natural gas – would play a critical role during the transition period in financing the changeover to renewables and alternative energy sources. Consequently, any dramatic curtailment of investment in fossil fuels would not only hurt the ability of countries to transition towards greener fuels, but would also leave many resource-poor developing countries starved of their vital energy needs.
In his brief message, Dr Al Rumhy also underlined the need for young Omanis to be fully involved in the debate and drive against climate action. “I think the decision on how to progress from where we are today to a Net Zero target of 2050 must have a huge input from those who will be alive in 2050, which are the youth of today. Engaging the youth and getting them to be part of the solution is extremely important.”
Sharing at a personal level, Dr Al Rumhy also lamented what he described as the consumerist focus of Omani society, as opposed to one that is production-oriented. In this regard, he appealed to young people in general to move away from a consumerist mindset.
“We need to make producing projects more glamorous so our young people will be associated with them,” he said. “My message to all young people: Can we start thinking about how we can produce more – in one form or another – for example, we have agriculture, fisheries, manufacturing, and a lot of things that we can do with our hands and our brains. We don’t have to be part of a production line.”
He also appealed to the youth to be positive in their attitudes and toward the government as well, affirming: “We have only one Oman for the youth of Oman; we have to build it together, everybody wants a better tomorrow. In my humble advice to our young sons and daughters, please be positive, come forward with constructive criticisms that are solutions oriented, rather than just blame and criticise.”
Ministry Under-Secretary Salim al Aufi, under whose auspices the ‘Spark by NYP’ edition was launched, urged young people to stay abreast of the latest developments in the energy industry and to continually expand their horizons beyond their current professional focus.
“Don’t underestimate any task; you don’t always get to work on things that you love, sometimes you may have to work on things that you have little interest in, or it may be outside your area of experience. But give these tasks your best shot – you never know where these may lead you to in your career,” he added.