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Press Release

With launch of ‘Beyond Oil & Gas Alliance’, countries and regions forge first diplomatic initiative to phase out fossil fuel extraction

Civil society applauds the creation of BOGA and asks countries: Where is your plan to stop producing the fossil fuels that are driving the climate crisis?
GLASGOW -

Today at UN climate talks (COP26) in Glasgow, Costa Rica and Denmark will officially launch the world’s first diplomatic initiative focused on keeping fossil fuels in the ground. Called the Beyond Oil and Gas Alliance, or 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 today’s launch event, Costa Rica, Denmark, France, Greenland, Ireland, Québec, Sweden and Wales will join this alliance as full members. California and New Zealand will also join the alliance as associate members.

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 and the UN Environment Programme have made it clear that continuing the expansion of global fossil fuel production is incompatible with keeping warming under 1.5°C, 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.

Reactions from civil society organizations from around the world to the launch of the Beyond Oil and Gas Alliance:

International

Romain Ioualalen, Global Policy Campaign Manager at Oil Change International:

“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 1.5ºC 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 United Kingdom, 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?

“While more and more countries and regions are starting to heed the call to end the expansion of oil and gas production, far more needs to be done. Ending licensing rounds is a necessary first step, but implementing the IEA’s call to stop all new oil and gas development, including in licensed areas, must also be part of all countries’ climate plans. If this alliance can convince more countries and regions to join, isolates laggards, and pushes its members towards more ambition, then it will be a success.”

Catherine Abreu, Executive Director of Destination Zero: 

“Global governments have spent decades talking about the need to reduce emissions while having almost nothing to say about the need to reduce the dominant source of those emissions: the production and combustion of fossil fuels. The floods, fires and storms wrecking havoc across communities around the world tell us how well that approach has worked. Costa Rica and Denmark and those that have joined them in the Beyond Oil and Gas Alliance are changing the game. They’re authoring a new definition of climate leadership, one that no longer allows countries to hide behind flashy pledges while continuing to pump out coal, oil and gas.”

Mohamed Adow, Founder & Director of Power Shift Africa:

“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.”

Monica Araya, Senior Advisor at Drive Electric:

“Moving to a world that leaves fossil fuels behind is an imperative of our lifetime. BOGA comes to complement the efforts to reduce demand for oil and gas by sending a strong policy, political and ethical signal: it’s time to agree to stop extracting. No country is too small or too big to skip the responsibility to align with science, health and a socially just transition.”

Tzeporah Berman, Chair of the Fossil Fuel Non-Proliferation Treaty Initiative: 

“The launch of BOGA marks a departure from decades of international climate policy in which the question of aligning the production of fossil fuels with carbon budgets was ignored. The bottom line is it is not a transition if countries continue to grow the problem. By working together, countries can ensure that we plan for a wind down of production that is fast and fair, and that protects workers and their families. The Fossil Fuel Non-Proliferation Treaty Initiative welcomes this first diplomatic effort on production. We urge other countries to join this important initiative to stop the expansion of oil, gas and coal.”

May Boeve, Executive Director of 350.org:

“Last week’s flurry of announcements created a lot of headlines, but initiatives like the Beyond Oil and Gas Alliance show what real climate leadership looks like. If we want to keep global heating below 1.5 degrees, a managed decline of fossil fuel production is the only way. This alliance is a great first step to start that process. Furthermore, it’s an opportunity for countries to show they really mean to get out of fossil fuels as opposed to ambiguous pledges that look good for the headlines but don’t have the concrete immediate effect we need to protect the most vulnerable communities who are suffering the impacts of climate breakdown right now.”

Mark Campanale, Executive Director of Carbon Tracker & Chair of the Global Registry of Fossil Fuels:

“Carbon Tracker analyses the planned global production of coal, oil and gas and tests which projects are viable in a world committed to the Paris climate agreement. In Carbon Tracker’s analysis of planned oil projects we found large numbers of projects that must be suspended. 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. Initiatives where governments permanently retire oil and gas licences is absolutely the right way forward.”

Tasneem Essop, Executive Director of Climate Action Network International:

“For decades, a small number of extremely rich and powerful private and state-owned firms have profited greatly from selling fossil fuels while deceiving the public and influencing governments to forestall political action to tackle climate change. Focusing on minimizing emissions might have been a sensible approach in the early 1990s, but it is clearly not enough today. We need complementary initiatives like the Beyond Oil and Gas Alliance explicitly geared toward constraining fossil-fuel supply to keep the hope of 1.5 alive. How can we achieve climate justice? By making big polluters pay for the loss and damage caused by the burning of fossil fuels.”

Sara Shaw, Climate Justice & Energy Program Coordinator, Friends of the Earth International:

“We welcome BOGA putting the focus on fossil fuel phase-out, but are concerned that big oil and gas producing nations seem reluctant even to sign up to BOGA’s not very challenging commitment. That’s not good enough. When you’re in a hole, you have to stop digging. To avoid catastrophic warming, oil producing countries must urgently come up with concrete plans for a just transition away from all fossil fuels over the next decade.”

Costa Rica

Pía Carazo, Director of Quantum Leap: 

“Costa Rica is an example that sustainable development and economic growth can go hand in hand, and that this is the best way to reactivate our economies. Leaving fossil fuels in the ground is imperative. We hope that Costa Rica and the Beyond Oil and Gas Alliance can inspire other countries to follow the same path, especially our Latin American and Caribbean neighbors.”

Denmark

Tim Whyte, Secretary General of ActionAid Denmark:

“Joining an alliance like BOGA is the test ground for whether governments are seriously moving away from the deadly path we are on or whether all the promises we hear at the COP26 are yet again greenwashíng of continued expansion of oil and gas. It is also the test ground for the success of the summit to keep the 1.5ºC goal alive. To meet this target, countries need to stop licensing new oil and gas fields and countries in the Global North should support a just transition in the Global South.”

California

Kobi Naseck, Coalition Coordinator at Voices In Solidarity Against Oil in Neighborhoods (VISIÓN): 

“With its status as an associate member, it’s clear California has a long way to go toward becoming a climate leader. We’re calling on the Newsom administration to continue forward and follow through on protecting California’s frontline communities from the worst impacts of oil and gas extraction. That means ending neighborhood drilling for new proposed wells and at existing sites that have been poisoning our communities for decades. The time for half-measures and incrementalism has passed. Our work toward a just transition and future without fossil fuels begins by protecting people and workers first through comprehensive public health setbacks of at least 3,200 feet.”

Caroline Henderson, Greenpeace USA Senior Climate Campaigner:

“This year, as California wildfires and heatwaves intensified, Governor Newsom leveled up his commitment to move the state beyond oil. Today, Governor Newsom has joined a global club of leaders willing to usher the world into a fossil-free future,” “But so long as he continues to greenlight new oil and gas drilling, his goal of phasing California off fossil fuels will remain out of reach. If Governor Newsom is serious about making fossil fuels a part of the past, he must decisively stop approving new oil and gas permits.”

France

Khaled Gaiji, President of Friends of the Earth France:

“This new alliance is a critical first step towards recognizing climate science and preventing the reckless expansion of oil and gas. But here again President Emmanuel Macron is wallowing in inaction and incoherence. He wants to be seen as a leader by joining this alliance but refuses to take a firm stand against oil and gas development in France and beyond. At home, the government can still grant licenses for the exploitation of hydrocarbons: an application is pending right now for the first ever production of unconventional gas in the North-East of France. Abroad, Mr. Macron seems determined to continue supporting new fossil fuel projects until 2035, when 23 countries adopted a 2022 deadline.”

Canada/Québec

Émile Boisseau-Bouvier, Climate Policy Analyst at Équiterre: 

“Subnational governments around the world are also a welcome addition to this Alliance and we applaud the fact that a province like Québec joined the efforts. We hope that those governments can use their influence and leadership to create some new momentum on the national and regional level, especially in countries likes Canada, where the fossil fuel industry is so established and powerful.’’

Caroline Brouillette, National Policy Manager, Climate Action Network Canada – Réseau action climat Canada: 

“Last week, Quebec led the way by becoming the first North American jurisdiction to join the Beyond Oil and Gas Alliance. Their move challenges the federal government and the rest of the provinces to follow suit. It’s time for other Canadian jurisdictions to join BOGA and plan a just transition away from fossils and towards a renewable energy system. For the sake of a livable planet, we need to stop pouring fuel on the fire.”

Ireland

Jerry Mac Evilly Head of Policy in Friends of the Earth Ireland:

“The establishment of the Beyond Oil and Gas Alliance and Ireland’s participation is hugely positive. Ireland has taken important steps in recent years to phase out fossil fuels, from ending new oil and gas exploration, to banning onshore fracking. However with the new alliance we are now finally seeing  domestic progress being reflected in international diplomacy.  The fossil fuel era must be brought to an end and this means leaving fossil fuels in the ground. This new alliance is an opportunity for Ireland to show leadership and end the reckless expansion of oil and gas at home and abroad.”

New Zealand

Alva Feldmeier, Executive Director 350 Aotearoa:

“New Zealand joining the BOGA as an associate member only is proof that our government is no longer leading the way and falling behind on adopting a full fossil fuel licensing ban. The ban on offshore oil and gas exploration permits in 2018 was the reason for celebration but we have seen unreasonable exemptions and continued expansion onshore. Our people-powered movement continues to call on our government and Crown financial institutions to end public finance for fossil fuel extraction by fully divesting and to take additional measures to limit fossil fuel supply by 2025.”

United Kingdom

Tessa Khan, Director of Uplift:

“The creation of this alliance shows how far behind the UK has fallen when it comes to climate leadership. While other countries decisively move away from fossil fuels, Boris Johnson is contemplating approving new oil and gas projects, like the Cambo field. He’s leading us down a dead end that will cost us dearly, just for the sake of industry profits. The UK needs to get its act together and end all new oil and gas production. This is what science demands: a genuine transition away from fossil fuels, starting now.

“It’s clear that the Westminster government is acting as a brake on the UK’s climate ambitions. Despite all his bluster on being a climate leader, Boris Johnson is nothing of the sort. He’s all words and no action: he says he wants to limit temperature rise to 1.5ºC, but then contemplates approving 30 new offshore oil and gas fields, which will take us in the exact opposite direction. He is leading the country down a dead end, one that will not only worsen the climate crisis but miss the huge opportunities up and down the country from clean jobs. Johnson talks a good game, but he’s really a climate laggard.”

Dr. Kat Kramer, Climate Policy Lead at Christian Aid: 

“It’s great to see countries starting to recognise that it’s not just coal we need to stop using, it’s all fossil fuels.  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. The fossil fuel industry likes to claim that gas is a ‘bridging fuel’ to a renewable powered future, but with global emissions accelerating at an alarming rate burning more gas is a bridge to disaster.

“Gas is also not needed to tackle poverty.  Covering developing countries with expensive and outdated fossil fuel infrastructure which will be redundant in thirty years is not an effective model for development. It’s much better for many poorer countries to leapfrog fossil fuels and jump straight to renewables which are not only the energy source of the present and future, they are also the solution to the climate crisis.”

Rebecca Newsom, Head of Politics at Greenpeace UK: 

“Countries agreeing to phase out oil and gas is yet another nail in the coffin for the fossil fuel industry and it’s clear that fossil fuels are on their way out.

“Guidance from experts at the International Energy Agency has 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.

“We need to see much more leadership from the most developed countries, including the UK as host of COP26, to make sure that the final text agreed at Glasgow commits to phase out fossil fuels as soon as possible and secure a just transition to renewable energy.”

“UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson will lose what’s left of his climate credibility if he fails  to rule out new oil and gas and presses ahead with proposals for a new oil field at Cambo, after he’s told other countries to ‘pull out all the stops’ at COP26.

“The UK Presidency has a particular responsibility to make sure this COP is a success and delivers a truly ambitious commitment from world leaders in the final Glasgow agreement to phase out fossil fuels.”

Jamie Peters, Director of Campaigns at Friends of the Earth England, Wales and Northern Ireland:

“There is no future in fossil fuels and all of our futures are in grave jeopardy if we keep burning them. “As a country with huge historical responsibility for emissions, the UK clearly needs to end funding for gas drilling in Mozambique, and pull the plug on the Cambo oil field, a new coal mine in Cumbria, and drilling for oil in Surrey. “All countries have to let go of their fossil fuel addiction and the UK needs to lead the way. That crucial pathway to 1.5 gets a lot easier once coal, oil and gas are out of the picture.”

United States

Sujatha Bergen, Healthy People & Thriving Communities campaigns director at the Natural Resources Defense Council: 

“This broad alliance can help shift the world away from fossil fuels that are driving climate change toward catastrophe. Transitioning to clean energy will reap enormous benefits for people’s health, the climate and economies around the world. It’s time to take a strong step and resolute commitment, aided by this alliance, toward a safer and cleaner future for our kids, families and communities.”

Kierán Suckling, Executive Director of the Center for Biological Diversity: 

“We salute this ‘first movers club’ of leaders with the courage to keep fossil fuels in the ground. We can still pull back from the brink of climate and extinction catastrophe, but it requires an urgent end to the fossil fuel era. We hope this alliance will push leaders around the world, especially U.S. President Joe Biden, to recognize that curbing fossil fuel production is critical to saving life on Earth. To be a true climate leader, Biden has to join this alliance and use his executive powers to halt extraction on public lands and stop fossil fuel exports immediately.”

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Oil Change International is a research, communications, and advocacy organization focused on exposing the true costs of fossil fuels and facilitating the ongoing transition to clean energy.

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