Today, Pope Francis stated ahead of the upcoming COP28 in Dubai, that “the necessary transition towards clean energy sources such as wind and solar energy, and the abandonment of fossil fuels, is not progressing at the necessary speed”.

Pointing to oil and gas companies continuing to carry out new projects – despite the International Energy Agency recently reaffirming that no new oil, gas, or coal fields are compatible with limiting global temperature rise to 1.5ºC – the Pope described delaying action on fossil fuels as “suicidal” as humanity faces the increasingly severe consequences of the climate crisis. 

Even extracting just the fossil fuels from existing sites globally would result in 140% more carbon pollution than the allowed budget for 1.5°C. But recent Oil Change International analysis shows that a group of just five rich Global North countries would be responsible for the majority (51%) of planned new oil and gas extraction to 2050: the United States, Canada, Australia, Norway, and the United Kingdom. 

COP28 to be held in Dubai in December is expected to see global negotiations on the phase out of all fossil fuels, an urgent and necessary step towards meeting the objectives of the Paris Agreement.

Mariam Kemple Hardy Global Campaigns Manager at Oil Change International, said:
“The Pope’s intervention ahead of the Dubai climate talks is welcome and adds to an increasingly loud chorus of voices demanding that countries tackle the root cause of the climate crisis: fossil fuels. The Pope is right to point out the growing gap between the urgent need to phase out all fossil fuels and the fact that countries and the oil and gas industry are doubling down on new production that is incompatible with a livable climate.”

“A handful of the world’s richest nations’ are risking our future by willingly ignoring the calls to rapidly phase out fossil fuels. It is inexcusable for countries with high incomes and outsized historical responsibility for causing the climate crisis, to drill for more fossil fuels while claiming to be climate leaders and asking others to phase out their own fossil fuels. They must move first and fastest to phase out their production and pay their fair share to fund a just global energy transition.

“Global leaders meeting in Dubai for COP 28 must heed the Pope’s call to agree to a just and equitable phaseout of all fossil fuels and a transition to renewable energy, with adequate financial support for impacted countries. Unless it does so, COP28 will be a failure.”