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Tzeporah Berman, media@stand.earth

A Phase Out of Oil and Gas Is the Pathway to Climate Security and a Strong Economy

Oil and gas production is fueling the climate emergency. 530 organizations call on leaders to stop expanding and financing the problem.

NEW YORK CITY - As government and industry leaders gather in New York to discuss climate change, a growing movement of civic organizations are calling on them to address the biggest threat to climate security—the production of oil and gas.

Emissions from developed oil and gas reserves will result in more than 1.5 degrees Celsius of warming [1]. Yet, the oil and gas industry plans to spend $1.4 trillion USD over the next five years to expand production. This will add 92 gigatonnes of carbon pollution, taking the world well beyond 2 degrees, even if the production and use of coal is completely phased out.

"If a house is on fire, you don't add fuel. True leadership in response to the climate emergency means having the courage to commit to ending the expansion of oil and gas production and make a plan to transition communities and workers to better opportunities," said Catherine Abreu of Climate Action Network.

In light of this reality, The Lofoten Declaration—Phasing Out Oil and Gas Production for a Safe Climate and Strong Economy has been signed by over 530 organizations spanning 76 countries. Signatories are demanding government and industry commit to phase out fossil fuel production and accelerate the transition to clean energy and other low-carbon solutions. The declaration calls on high-income economies that benefitted from fossil fuel extraction and are historically responsible for significant emissions to lead.

"Everyone knows the world must dramatically reduce production and emissions of fossil fuels if we are going to have a safe climate. Yet everyone continues to argue that their oil and gas expansion fits within a global plan. The math doesn't work," said Tzeporah Berman of Stand.earth. "Expansion of oil and gas threatens us all and we need to stop pretending the solution is a technological fix and stop expansion by regulating production globally."

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Cutting greenhouse gas emissions by 50 percent over the next decade will require removing finance and subsidies and banning license, contract and permits for new oil and gas development, developing plans to phase out existing production at a pace aligned with the Paris Agreement, and supporting communities and workers in oil and gas regions in consultation with trade unions and local leaders.

Governments and businesses are taking steps to reduce the climate and economic risks related to oil and gas. Costa Rica, France, New Zealand and Belize banned new oil and gas projects in some or all of their territories, and there are ongoing debates about doing the same in countries such as Sweden, Spain and Ireland. More than 1,000 institutions including the World Bank and other financial organizations have removed more than $11 trillion in financing from fossil fuels [2].

"With the transition to clean energy well underway, a growing number of investors see oil and gas projects as a bad investment," said Alex Doukas of Oil Change International. "We're in the midst of a climate emergency, and massive surge in climate activism makes it increasingly untenable for financiers to continue wasting money on an oil and gas industry that ultimately needs to disappear if we're serious about climate action."

[1] Greg Muttitt, The Sky's Limit: Why the Paris Climate Goals Require a Managed Decline of Fossil Fuel Production, Oil Change International, 2016, http://priceofoil.org/2016/09/22/the-skys-limit-report/.

[2] https://gofossilfree.org/11-trillion-divested/

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Stand.earth (formerly ForestEthics) is an international nonprofit environmental organization with offices in Canada and the United States that is known for its groundbreaking research and successful corporate and citizens engagement campaigns to create new policies and industry standards in protecting forests, advocating the rights of indigenous peoples, and protecting the climate. Visit us at www.stand.earth and follow us on Twitter @standearth.

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