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Ending fossil fuel production

High-level call to constrain oil, gas and coal production to achieve the Paris goals
Queensland open cut coal mine

High-level officials from Pacific Islands have called for a reining in of fossil fuel production in order to stay within the climate limits agreed to in Paris. They were joined in their call by civil society, indigenous and academic voices.

A managed decline

Potential carbon emissions from the oil, gas and coal present in the world’s currently operating fields and mines would take us beyond 1.5 or 2 degrees Celsius of warming. For the world to stay within the Paris climate limits, new fossil fuel production must be halted.

This requires stopping exploration for, and expansion of, new reserves and a managed decline and just transition away from fossil fuel production – starting with wealthy countries and states who have the means to act first and fastest.

‘For nearly 20 years, our people have been resisting oil development and extraction in our rainforest home in the Ecuadorian Amazon. We have taken our fight all the way to international courts and won. We continue to resist new oil extraction and promote solutions to protect our living forests. We must stand together to keep oil in the ground from the Amazon to the Arctic to protect our climate and our future generations.

Leader of the Kichwa people of Sarayaku (Ecuador)

Best left in the ground

Peter Erickson, senior scientist at the Stockholm Environment Institute, said that while the ambition of the Paris goals is often framed as an emissions gap, there is also a production gap. He noted that countries are planning to produce ‘way more fossil fuels than needed under a 2-degree limit’.

‘Fossil fuels will destroy our home. Two Degrees will destroy our home.’

President of Kiribati

Berit Kristoffersen, associate professor at the University of Tromso, used Norway as a good example of a country that has a historic responsibility and the economic capacity to be a leader on a managed decline. He said Norway and other wealthy countries ‘should act according to the Lofoten declaration and recognise that new exploration is inconsistent and no longer acceptable if we are to stay within the limits of the carbon budget.’

‘There are some things best left under ground. Fossil fuels is one of them. There should be no new expansion of fossil fuels as this threatens our efforts to put the world onto a pathway to limit warming below 1.5°C, through our endeavours at the UNFCCC to heal the health of the planet.’

Solomon Islands

A moral obligation

Mohamed Adow, international climate lead at Christian Aid, said we need to make a ‘swift global transition away from dirty energy and towards renewables’. He added it’s vital that governments take appropriate steps to end fossil fuel production and decarbonise their economies in time to avoid the worst impacts of climate change.

These calls echo the asks of the Lofoten Declaration, which affirms that it is the urgent responsibility and moral obligation of wealthy fossil fuel producers to lead in these efforts. The Lofoten Declaration has been signed by 500 organisations around the world.

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