Within the diplomatic alliance to keep fossil fuels in the ground

Within the diplomatic alliance to keep fossil fuels in the ground

Sheep on a road ahead of mobile offshore drilling units at Cromarty Firth harbor on Tuesday 23 June 2020 in Cromarty, UK.

Jason Alden | Bloomberg | Getty Images

LONDON – Costa Rica and Denmark lead efforts to build world’s first diplomatic alliance Manage the decline in oil and gas production.

The co-leaders of the initiative, known as the “Beyond Oil and Gas Alliance”, seek to establish a deadline for ending oil and gas production that would bind countries to the 2015 Paris Agreement. This legally binding treaty aims to limit global warming to less than 2 ° C above pre-industrial levels, and preferably 1.5 ° C. Honoring the terms of the agreement is widely seen as important to avert an irreversible climate crisis.

The Beyond Oil and Gas Alliance is expected to be officially launched in early November during the UN-brokered climate talks, known as COP26.

By then, Costa Rica and Denmark want to persuade as many countries and jurisdictions as possible to join them in order to end oil and gas production.

This comes at a time when decision makers are under immense pressure to meet the demands of the climate emergency. The burning of fossil fuels, such as oil and gas, is the main driver of the climate crisis, and yet the global dependence on fossil fuels is expected to worsen over the coming decades.

Speaking at an online webinar hosted by the International Renewable Energy Agency on Thursday, Danish Climate, Energy and Utilities Minister Dan Jorgensen said: “The science is clear. We cannot interact with nature.

“There is no scenario where we burn all the oil and gas we can find and where we stay below 2 degrees – and certainly not 1.5. It’s not possible, so we have to stop.

For the moment, these are only inferior technologies. They weren’t inferior in the last century, but during this century, given the rise of all the other options available to us, they have become inferior technologies.

Christiana Figueres

Former UN chief for the climate

In December last year, Denmark pledged to end all future licensing rounds for North Sea oil and gas exploration and to impose a 2050 shutdown date for the oil and gas production. At the time, this relatively small European country was the largest oil producer in the European Union.

“On the one hand, if you look at it, it’s a big deal to ask a country,” Jorgensen said, accepting the challenge of trying to persuade others to sign the alliance.

“What you’re saying, as one of my political opponents in Denmark suggested, is, ‘So basically you don’t want us asking for free money? You want us to get money from the land. Stop pumping, so what can do it for us? “

“And I had to say: Well, yeah,” Jorgensen continued. “But it’s for a good reason.”

climatic hypocrisy

Costa Rican Environment and Energy Minister Andrea Meza said Thursday that some opposition political parties were pushing the country’s government to consider using oil and gas revenues to fund its energy transition. “We are very clear that this is not the right path.”

Costa Rica, a Central American country with a population of around 5 million, has never extracted oil. In addition, he is currently studying a bill to permanently ban fossil fuel exploration to ensure that no future government does.

Asked during the same webinar about why other countries would consider joining his initiative, Meja said platforms like Beyond Oil and Gas Alliance should be there to show others that it is possible.

“It’s just a planet,” Meja said. “It’s not about making and selling things inside our countries… all the old technology outside our borders. It is not fair.”

U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken (C), Costa Rican First Lady Claudia Dobles (L) and Costa Rican Environment and Energy Minister Andrea Meza (R) are seen at the launch of the ‘national land use, land cover and ecosystem monitoring system is. (SIMOCUTE) on June 2, 2021 in San José.

Ezequiel Becerra | AFP | Getty Images

The research, published Sept. 9 in the scientific journal Nature, found that the vast majority of the world’s known reserves of fossil fuels must be kept in the ground to have any hope of avoiding the worst effects of climate change.

Separately, an analysis released Wednesday by Carbon Action Tracker showed that none of the world’s major economies are currently on track to contain global warming, meeting the Paris Agreement target of 1.5 degrees Celsius.

It follows a dazzling report by the influential, but generally conservative, International Energy Agency earlier this year. The IEA has concluded that no new oil, gas or coal development can take place if the world is to achieve net zero fossil fuel emissions by 2050.

Environmental activists and Native Americans march through the construction site of the Line 3 pipeline near Palisade, Minnesota on January 9, 2021. Line 3 is an oil pipeline that connects Hardisty, Alberta, Canada, to Superior, Wisconsin, United States. .

Carem Yusel | AFP | Getty Images

Dane Jorgensen said it would be “vulgar” to name specific countries, but described it as a “paradox” that many governments postpone their commitment to net zero by 2050, while quietly selling others. . Oil and gas extraction project. These countries include the United States, Canada, Norway, and the United Kingdom.

“You won’t burn it yourself and you think other people shouldn’t either, but you will make money selling oil to other countries?” It doesn’t make sense, ”he said.

Jorgensen said he didn’t want to deny that joining the Beyond Oil and Gas Alliance, which has yet to be revealed, will come with tough economic options, especially those heavily dependent on the economy. oil and gas. “But, that is the difficult question we must ask ourselves.”

“Can we live with a future where we don’t? I don’t think we can.

“Lower technologies”

Speaking to Denmark’s Jorgensen and Costa Rica’s Meja on Thursday, former UN climate chief Christiana Figueres spoke of the urgent need for governments to drastically reduce the use of fossil fuels. He cited air pollution, mainly caused by the burning of fossil fuels, which kills around 7 million people worldwide each year.

Figueres also stressed that the economic imperative to go beyond oil and gas is compelling. “These are only inferior technologies at the moment. They weren’t inferior in the last century, but during this century, given the rise of all the other options available to us, they have become inferior technologies.

Pipes for the Baltic Pipe gas pipeline are stacked in the Haustrup Strand near Nore Nebel, Jutland, Denmark on February 23, 2021. The Baltic Pipe gas pipeline, which is due to land at Esbjerg on the west coast of the Jutland peninsula, will carry ten billion cubic meters of gas each year from the Norwegian North Sea gas fields through Denmark and Poland.

John Randris Hansen | AFP | Getty Images

Figueres said the growing number of cities banning the use of fossil fuel vehicles was likely to herald the “death of oil.” It may take longer for gas production to finish as it is recognized as a transitional fuel, she said, but still no more than 20 to 30 years as alternative fuels such as hydrogen and l ‘ammonia come to the market, “It will be able to compete favorably.”

In short, Figueres said that the economic affair, the “swift” litigation in Europe and elsewhere and a social license for these fuels which was “completely lost” showed that there was no other place for it. oil and gas production. Not here.

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