While ‘fossil fuels’ somehow managed to escape mention in the text of the Paris Agreement, there is a growing call in these halls for Parties to confront the primary driver of climate change head-on. The bottom line is that we have more readily and economically available oil, coal, and gas in already operating fields and mines than we can afford in any carbon budget that keeps us below two degrees, let alone 1.5. To start with, about two thirds of all existing fossil fuel reserves — more from coal, less from gas — need to be left in ground. To prevent the worst effects of climate change, we need to call an end to the fossil fuel era and embrace the 100% renewable energy epoch.
Yesterday, high-level delegates called on wealthy fossil fuel producers to make the first move and quickly put an end to new fossil fuel exploration and expansion. They also called for ‘producing countries’ to begin a managed decline in production, while planning for a just transition for affected workers and communities.
It’s clear that climate leadership is being redefined. Self-proclaimed climate leaders cannot approve the exploration and expansion of fossil fuels, cannot pour billions in public money into dirty energy subsidies, and cannot pretend that the world can continue to produce oil, coal, or gas for decades to come.
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