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'Be on the Right Side of History': Ahead of COP 25, Demand for Govts to Break Free From Fossil Fuels

"We expect governments to come to these climate talks to live up to the moral urgency at hand."

People hold up signs and vent their frustrations during a Climate Change Awareness rally at Sydney Town Hall on March 15, 2019 in Sydney, Australia.

People hold up signs and vent their frustrations during a Climate Change Awareness rally at Sydney Town Hall on March 15, 2019 in Sydney, Australia. The protests were part of a global climate strike, urging politicians to take urgent action on climate change. (Photo: Don Arnold/Getty Images)

Global movement 350.org on Thursday urged nations to seize the "pivotal moment" at hand and ready swift plans to ditch fossil fuels in order to avert climate catastrophe and do right by frontline communities.

The climate group's call is directed at nations heading to the U.N. Climate Change Conference known as COP 25, which begins Monday in Madrid.

"The only way for this process to succeed is to acknowledge, as science dictates, that it is time to put a discussion of fossil fuels front and center."
—May Boeve, 350.org
Information out just this week from the United Nations puts a megaphone to the call. The World Meteorological Organization said Monday that levels of key greenhouse gases in the atmosphere reached record highs in 2018. On Tuesday, the U.N. Environmental Program warned that global temperatures could be on track to rise as much as 3.2°C by the end of the century, a projection that the body said underscored the "need for rapid and transformational action."

And, last week a U.N.-led report found that global governments' projected levels of coal, oil, and gas production would push the planet over the temperature rise called for in the Paris climate accord— an agreement from which President Donald Trump began formally withdrawing this month. 

Such dire predictions have driven millions of young climate activists to protest worldwide recently to demand their governments address the crisis, with a fourth global climate strike set to kick off Friday to sustain the message.

The threat of the climate crisis and the crescendo of demands for swift and bold action, said 350, should serve as a clarion call to action for delegates when they gather next week in the Spanish capital.

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According to executive director May Boeve, this as "is a pivotal moment for global efforts to combat climate change. Big coal, oil, and gas companies will either win with their version of climate denial—which is to call for slow action—or we will move ahead to a clean energy future that works for all."

"We expect governments to come to these climate talks to live up to the moral urgency at hand with clear plans to: cut all public and private funding to fossil fuels, ban new fossil fuel exploration, and enable a just transition for communities currently dependent on fossil fuels for work or energy," she said. "The only way for this process to succeed is to acknowledge, as science dictates, that it is time to put a discussion of fossil fuels front and center."

"It is time for governments to be on the right side of history," Boeve added.

U.N. Secretary-General António Guterres, in a tweet Thursday morning, echoed the call for greater ambition at the climate talks.

"Climate change is running faster than we are," he said. "We must stop it."

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