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The oil and gas industry “is listening” to teenage environmental activist Greta Thunberg, one of the industry’s most senior figures in the UK has said.

Speaking at a conference, Oil and Gas UK chief executive Deirdre Michie said climate change “is a real and present danger that we must deal with together”, stressing that the industry “can find and deliver” solutions.

16-year old Greta Thunberg sparked an international movement among young people last year when she campaigned alone for a ‘School Strike for Climate’, before quickly gaining support from thousands and thousands of people around the world.

Describing Miss Thunberg has an “impressive young woman”, Ms Michie said during her speech: “I would like to reassure Greta Thunberg – we are listening, because we want the world to be a better place too.

“And while we believe that our industry’s global contribution has improved the lives of billions of people, we are clear that climate change is a real and present danger that we must deal with together.”

Speaking at a conference in Poland in December, the Swedish activist warned that “if solutions within the system are so impossible to find, maybe we should change the system itself”.

In response to that point, the Oil and Gas UK boss said: “I would like to suggest that as the UK’s offshore oil and gas industry has so many talented people…we can find and deliver the solutions needed while at the same time positioning ourselves to be at the heart of an energy system that also needs to change – whether it is by the sector working to reduce its operational emissions as well as supporting the advancement of low carbon and abatement technologies.

“Indeed, along with our sector delivering from exploration through to decommissioning, it’s already unlocking the energy transition with some operators extending their portfolios into other energies – Equinor, Total, Shell and BP.

“And of course, the downstream and utilities sectors are doing a lot of work in this too.”