FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

15 September 2021

Contact:
Romain IOUALALEN, Oil Change International, romain@priceofoil.org
David Turnbull, Oil Change International, david@priceofoil.org

Civil Society Applauds Beyond Oil and Gas Alliance Announcement,
Urges Countries to End New Oil and Gas Projects

On Thursday, September 16th, Ministers from Denmark and Costa Rica will announce they will form the Beyond Oil and Gas Alliance (BOGA). BOGA is a diplomatic initiative bringing together countries and jurisdictions that have ended licensing for new oil and gas exploration and production and are setting an end date for their production.

BOGA is the first diplomatic initiative acknowledging the need for governments to manage the phase out of fossil fuel production as a key tool to address the climate crisis. It has the potential to help reframe the global climate conversation to ensure phasing out fossil fuel production is seen as a key tenet of climate leadership. BOGA will be officially launched at COP26, in Glasgow.

Previous preliminary reporting from Reuters on the initiative can be seen here.

This announcement will take place in the context of the Energy Action Day organized by the Government of Denmark, IRENA, UNEP and the World Economic Forum, on September 16, 2020 at 9:15am EST/3:15PM CEST. More information about this virtual event can be found here.

In anticipation of the announcement, representatives from civil society organizations released the following statements:

General quotes about BOGA

Romain Ioualalen, Global Policy Campaign Manager, Oil Change International said:
“The creation of this alliance is a much-needed positive development after a summer of climate calamities across the world. The era of countries claiming to be climate leaders while opening up new oil and gas fields is coming to an end. The science is clear: unless countries immediately stop developing new fossil fuel extraction projects and rapidly phase out existing production, limiting warming to 1.5°C will be virtually impossible. We urge governments to heed this warning and to answer the call to join the Beyond Oil and Gas Alliance by COP26 by making oil and gas exploration a thing of the past.

The new bar of leadership that BOGA is creating puts to shame countries such as Canada, Norway, the UK and the US that continue to drill for more oil and gas despite having the means to enable a just transition away from fossil fuels. These countries should be leading the pack away from fossil fuels. The time for excuses and greenwash is over.

While we applaud the BOGA initiative, we pledge to be vigilant in ensuring that this initiative remains guided by science and maintains integrity. If a country is still actively handing out new oil and gas licences and has no plan to stop then it has no business being part of this club of leaders. However, BOGA should be a forum for frank discussions and shared dialogue to support countries that rely on fossil fuel revenues in planning their transition.”

Jennifer Morgan, Executive Director, Greenpeace International said:
“Civil society has been campaigning for decades on phasing out fossil fuel production as it’s crucial for tackling the climate emergency. The Beyond Oil and Gas Alliance is a step forward on this shared path to a just and green future. As the first diplomatic initiative to focus on the fact that keeping oil, coal and gas in the ground is necessary and urgent, it shows how the end of the fossil fuel era is finally becoming central to climate policy.”

May Boeve, Executive Director of 350.org said:
“The world is on fire and oil and gas companies are holding the matches. The climate crisis is one of the biggest threats to people and the planet and it’s time for governments to face up to it, and get these companies out of the halls of power.

The first step to truly address the climate crisis is to initiate a rapid phase-out of fossil fuels, stop subsidies and funding to oil and gas companies and instead invest public and private money to accelerate the energy transition. BOGA is a step in that direction – we welcome it, and we need to see more countries joining. It’s now or never”

Peter Wooders, Senior Director (Energy) at the International Institute for Sustainable Development (IISD), said:
“As climate impacts worsen, it becomes urgent for countries to move out of fossil fuels and enable a just transition to clean energy as soon as possible. BOGA sets a new bar for climate leadership, and provides welcome encouragement for countries to undergo a managed phaseout of oil and gas production in line with the Paris goals. We urge governments to join the initiative.”

Catherine Abreu, Founder & Executive Director at Destination Zero, said:
“The first step to breaking an addiction is admitting you have a problem. For decades governments have been able to claim climate leadership on the global stage while continuing to pump-out planet- and people-killing oil, gas and coal. It’s time to face fossil fuel dependence head-on, because winning the fight for a liveable planet requires us to tell the truth about the root cause of the crisis. Kudos to Denmark and Costa Rica, and those that will join them in the Beyond Oil and Gas Alliance, for having the courage to own up to reality: all fossil fuels that are extracted and burned contribute to climate change; there is no such thing as a net-zero world with expanding oil and gas production. Done right, BOGA can play an important part in the just and equitable transition we need to a fossil free future.”

Alex Rafalowicz, Director of the Fossil Fuel Non-Proliferation Treaty Initiative said:
“The scientific consensus calling for the end of fossil fuel expansion is growing and evermore clear. BOGA is a major step towards entering the fossil fuel free era so long as it mobilizes other countries to make meaningful, bold commitments centered around keeping fossil fuels in the ground and supports Global South countries to follow suit. We welcome this necessary leadership from Costa Rica and Denmark. In the coming months, we will look for BOGA to be a place that focuses on the scientific urgency to address fossil fuel production and on accelerating earnest cooperation on this issue as it expands its membership and puts pressure on laggards to act.”

Quotes from civil society organizations in founding or potential BOGA-member countries:

Helene Hagel, Head of Climate Policy, Greenpeace Denmark, said:

“BOGA has the potential to accelerate fossil fuel phase-out globally. All countries claiming to respect the 1,5°C-target should join as soon as possible. Obviously, only looking at the demand-side hasn’t worked, so it’s vital that this alliance now addresses the production-side. This must create global momentum for immediate end of licenses and phase-out plans.”

Lars Koch, Policy Director, ActionAid Denmark, said:

“BOGA is a very important initiative to end licensing of new oil and gas fields. We recognize the lead of Costa Rica and Denmark in this important initiative as crucial to get more countries on board and put an end to fossil fuels. However, to be true climate leaders Denmark and other wealthy countries must also end oil production much earlier than 2050.”

Dale Marshall, National Climate Program Manager, Environmental Defence Canada, said:

“This is the piece that has been missing from global climate action and diplomacy – countries working together to eliminate their dependence on fossil fuels. For Canada, that means primarily oil and gas. We need political leaders that have the courage and vision to follow Denmark and Costa Rica’s leadership.

The myth that Canada can expand oil and gas production and meaningfully address climate change is being eroded every day. Producing and burning fossil fuels is killing people, destroying communities, and eroding the web of life that sustains us. We’ve known it for decades – we need government action to finally stand up to oil corporations and phase out these dangerous substances.”

Sascha Mueller-Kraenner, CEO of Deutsche Umwelthilfe (DUH) in GERMANY said:
“There is clear scientific evidence that we need to phase out all fossil fuels. Deutsche Umwelthilfe welcomes the Beyond Oil and Gas Alliance and congratulates Costa Rica and Denmark to having started this important initiative. Although Germany is importing a vast share of its fossil gas and oil, a significant domestic production remains. This production needs to be phased out in the near future if Germany is serious about its climate commitments. Deutsche Umwelthilfe calls upon the candidates in the current election race in Germany to express their support for this initiative as well. In order to comply with climate commitments, we need to tackle both domestic and global production.”

Auður Önnu Magnúsdóttir, General Director of Landvernd in ICELAND said:
“The creation of this initiative highlights the need for Iceland to commit once and for all to keep fossil fuels in the ground, a topic that should be a priority for the new government. On the road to a fossil fuel free future, Iceland could be the country that demonstrates how a society with a prosperous economy and strong social protection system functions without fossil fuels. Iceland should right away first remove laws that describe such activities and then formally ban the search and processing of fossil fuels in Icelandic jurisdiction.”

David Tong, Global Industry Campaign Manager at Oil Change International in NEW ZEALAND said:

“The New Zealand government’s 2018 ban on all new offshore oil and gas exploration was an historical step forward. Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern acted in response to years of campaigning by people all over the country, led by Indigenous people.

“But now, New Zealand is lagging behind. Ending offshore fossil fuel exploration isn’t enough to keep warming below 1.5 degrees. To join the Beyond Oil and Gas Alliance, New Zealand’s government must listen to the people and communities in Taranaki who are urging them to end new onshore fossil oil and gas exploration and expansion too.”

Alva Feldmeier, Executive Director of 350 Aotearoa in NEW ZEALAND said:
“For an equitable and just climate future we need to normalise the end of the fossil fuel era. We welcome this Alliance and have an expectation that bringing together countries and jurisdictions together will support work on a fast transition to a zero carbon economy and will avoid the worst of the climate crisis.

Russel Norman, Executive Director of Greenpeace Aotearoa in NEW ZEALAND said:

“New Zealand led the way when Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern agreed to put an end to offshore oil and gas exploration permits. However, despite early signs they might take climate action seriously, with ongoing oil and gas exploration onshore and in remaining permitted areas, with ballooning emissions from transport and agriculture, and no real plan yet to reduce emissions, they have let that lead slip away.”

Sarah Roberts, Spokesperson for Taranaki Energy Watch in NEW ZEALAND said:

Companies are still looking for new oil and gas in Taranaki in 2021 and new permits have been granted by the government. The right to drill for oil and gas will last for decades here. Enough is enough for our families and our planet. The government needs to do more now and do it faster to support a just transition off fossil fuels.”

Catherine Cheung, Researcher for Climate Justice Taranaki in NEW ZEALAND said:
“A just transition from an extractive, exclusive economy to a regenerative and equitable one requires us to substantially downsize our overall energy consumption and economy. It requires us to respect Indigenous, M?ori people and nurture a domestic economy that puts people before profits. We dare the New Zealand government to stop further fossil fuels development along with all the other bad stuff and bring on the good.”

In New Zealand we’ve been led to believe by the 2018 ban on all offshore oil and gas exploration, that our government was actioning large scale change to phase out fossil fuels. Since this announcement we have seen extensive new onshore oil and gas exploration continue. We urge the New Zealand government to step it up and end onshore gas exploration now”.

Thor Due, Petroleum Policy Advisor at Friends of the Earth NORWAY said:
“This alliance is just what Norway needs. By bringing together several oil producers agreeing to reduce oil production, we can make the inevitable and necessary transition away from oil and gas smooth and without losing market share. Unfortunately, Norway does not qualify by now, but if our new government has any understanding of climate change, they will realize we have to stop exploring for more oil”.

Dallas Goldtooth, Keep it in the Ground Campaigner of the Indigenous Environmental Network in THE UNITED STATES said:
“Our network welcomes this initiative, because it reflects the reality that ‘keep fossil fuels in the ground’ is not just a slogan, but an Indigenous knowledge and scientifically-backed policy platform central to addressing climate change. We hope this initiative will convince leaders and governing bodies to end the expansion of fossil fuels, for the benefit of all life on Mother Earth.”

Gladys Limon, Executive Director, California Environmental Justice Alliance, said:
“Climate leadership requires not only a timely phaseout of oil and gas production and consumption, but centering equity to ensure that climate solutions benefit the health and wellbeing of communities at the frontlines of fossil fuel operations and most vulnerable to the impacts of the climate crisis. Both in California and globally, Indigenous, Black and communities of color breathe the most polluted air, including from fossil fuel facilities. Commitments from world leaders to overcome the climate crisis must include dismantling the systems built on racism that created the crisis in the first place. We encourage Governow Newsom to use this moment to stop permitting oil drilling in California, beginning immediately within 2,500 ft of communities.”

Caroline Henderson, Greenpeace USA Senior California Climate Campaigner, said:
“With the Dixie Fire soon to become the largest wildfire in state history, Californians are facing a code red emergency in both our state and across the country. Governor Newsom has emerged from the recall with a clear mandate for climate action and a stark reminder that we cannot afford to wait another day to rein in dangerous fossil fuels. As world leaders prepare to discuss the fate of our planet this month during New York Climate Week, Governor Newsom has the opportunity to deliver the action necessary to keep his state livable. His first step is stopping all new oil and gas drilling permits in California — starting those located within 2,500 feet of where communities are living.”

Tessa Kahn, Director of Uplift in the UNITED KINGDOM, said:
“The creation of this alliance shows how far behind the UK has fallen when it comes to climate leadership. While other countries decisively transition 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 to eventually become a BOGA member”

Caroline Rance, Friends of the Earth Scotland Climate & Energy Campaigner, said:

“The science is clear that North Sea oil and gas production must be wound down to limit warming to 1.5ºC. That means stopping the Cambo oil field and all new developments, and accelerating the transition to renewable energy while ensuring a just transition for Scotland’s oil and gas workers.

When COP26 takes place here in Scotland, countries claiming to be climate leaders whilst seeking to drill for every last drop of oil will only be seen by the world as hypocrisy. Members of the Beyond Oil and Gas Alliance are leading the way to a just energy future, and we urge the Scottish Government to seize the opportunity and join them in showing true leadership.”

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