Nations, regions forge initiative to phase out fossil fuel extraction

Heads of over 100 nations set tone for net-zero emissions.(photo:
Representative image: IANS

Denmark has officially launched the world's first diplomatic initiative focused on keeping fossil fuels in the ground.

Called the Beyond Oil and Gas Alliance (BOGA), the effort brings together countries and subnational jurisdictions that have committed to ending new licensing rounds for oil and gas exploration and production, or have taken steps towards that goal, and recognize that phasing out fossil fuel extraction is an urgent and crucial component of tackling the climate crisis.

At Thursday's launch event, Costa Rica, Denmark, France, Greenland, Ireland, Quebec, Sweden and Wales joined this alliance as full members. California and New Zealand will also join the alliance as associate members. Italy has also expressed its support to the coalition by becoming a Friend of BOGA.

This announcement marks a major shift after decades of the UN climate process ignoring the crucial question of how the world will phase out the production of the fossil fuels that are driving the climate crisis.

It comes after the International Energy Agency (IEA) and the UN Environment Programme have made it clear that continuing the expansion of global fossil fuel production is incompatible with keeping warming under 1.5C, a key objective under the Paris Agreement.

The commitment made by these first movers is an essential first step towards a just transition away from fossil fuel production but is in itself insufficient to meet the challenge ahead. All countries, including BOGA members, must now commit to ending all new oil and gas projects, including in already licensed areas, and Global North producing countries must start reducing production immediately and at an accelerated pace as part of an equitable phase-out of global fossil fuel production.

Responding to the launch of the BOGA, Romain Ioualalen, Global Policy Campaign Manager at Oil Change International said: "The launch of the Beyond Oil and Gas Alliance is a turning point. For far too long, climate negotiations have ignored the basic reality that keeping 1.5C alive requires an equitable global plan to keep fossil fuels in the ground.

"For the first time, countries are now joining together to act on the urgent need to phase out oil and gas production. The creation of this alliance puts to shame claims of climate leadership among countries like the UK, Norway, the United States, and Canada, all of which have yet to answer this simple question: Where is your plan to stop producing the fossil fuels that are driving the climate crisis?"

Mohamed Adow, Founder and Director of Power Shift Africa, told IANS: "In order to begin healing from the climate catastrophe we have created we must first stop digging our way to destruction.

"Ending our extraction and use of oil and gas is a necessary step in ending our self-harming addiction to fossil fuels. In Africa, we are acutely aware of the suffering that fossil fuels can cause yet we have done almost nothing to cause this suffering. The sooner we can move beyond oil and gas, the sooner the planet can begin to heal."

Mark Campanale, Executive Director of Carbon Tracker and Chair of the Global Registry of Fossil Fuels, said: "To keep 1.5C alive, most fossil fuels, including oil and gas, have to remain in the ground. We strongly welcome the launch of BOGA."

Saying it is great to see countries starting to recognize that it's not just coal the world needs to stop using, it's all fossil fuels, Kat Kramer, Climate Policy Lead at Christian Aid, said: "The world is playing catch up with the climate crisis and we can't just focus on getting off coal, we need to be ditching oil and gas too."

Experts at the IEA have made it clear there can be no new fossil fuel projects beyond those already underway this year if "we're to meet the objective of limiting global warming to 1.5 degrees".

For this initiative to be effective, many more countries need to join and make firm commitments in their national policies to rule out all new fossil fuel projects and permits immediately.

The comments posted here/below/in the given space are not on behalf of Onmanorama. The person posting the comment will be in sole ownership of its responsibility. According to the central government's IT rules, obscene or offensive statement made against a person, religion, community or nation is a punishable offense, and legal action would be taken against people who indulge in such activities.