COP26 climate change summit: Countries must move beyond oil and gas production by setting an end-date – Costa Rica and Denmark

We, Costa Rica and Denmark, have decided to put an end date to our production of oil and gas.

We have done so because the science is clear: to keep the 1.5 degrees Celsius target of the Paris Agreement alive, we need significant reductions in fossil fuel production.

Now we invite the world to exert climate leadership with us and join the Beyond Oil And Gas Alliance – the first state-led initiative to promote a managed transition away from oil and gas production.

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When world leaders gather for the United Nations’ COP26 climate summit in Glasgow next week, the headline objective will be to keep that 1.5C target alive.

The immense difficulty of this undertaking was highlighted recently by a report from the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), which found that while limiting temperature increase to 1.5C is still possible, it will require an urgent, comprehensive, and fast-moving action in every nation.

Added to this, the newly released Production Gap Report from the UN Environment Programme finds that governments are in aggregate planning to produce around 110 per cent more fossil fuels in 2030 than would be consistent with the 1.5C goal.

In other words, we must swiftly adopt bold and tangible efforts to deliver on the pledge we made in Paris six years ago. One approach is inherently intuitive, but has consistently been overlooked in both national policies and global climate diplomacy: the need to embark on a just transition away from oil and gas production.

Transitioning away from fossil fuels means not only making strides on the demand side of the equation, but also establishing clear pathways and timeframes on the supply. It’s time we close the growing gap between fossil fuel production and our climate targets.

Two oil platforms await being scrapped at the port of Frederikshavn in Denmark last year (Picture: Henning Bagger/Ritzau Scanpix/AFP via Getty Images)Two oil platforms await being scrapped at the port of Frederikshavn in Denmark last year (Picture: Henning Bagger/Ritzau Scanpix/AFP via Getty Images)
Two oil platforms await being scrapped at the port of Frederikshavn in Denmark last year (Picture: Henning Bagger/Ritzau Scanpix/AFP via Getty Images)
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That is why the Beyond Oil And Gas Alliance (BOGA) is necessary. That is why we’re leading this effort to encourage governments to end their reliance on oil and gas production and focus instead on developing clean, sustainable energy. That is the path to preserve the planet as we know it.

Our two countries have very different histories of producing fossil fuels, but we are taking this initiative because nations of all stripes must tackle this challenge collectively. BOGA raises the bar on climate leadership and paves the way for other countries to begin this transition. We especially look to industrialised nations with greater capacity for more rapid action to lead.

As a coalition, we offer a community of practice with focus on building capacity and facilitating the sharing of knowledge and lessons learnt. We want to provide tools for governments to accelerate the phase-out of oil and gas and to help them work towards managed, just, and orderly production declines.

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We believe that managed transitions that support jobs and sustainable growth are not only possible, but necessary.

The climate crisis is already here, doing daily damage, and the time we have left to address it is dwindling. Yet the good news is, we not only know how to tackle the crisis, but have the tools to do so.

There is a small but growing number of national and sub-national governments ready to address the unsustainable supply of oil and gas. Now, we need others to follow. We invite all ambitious actors to join BOGA and partner with us on this crucial issue.

Dan Jørgensen is the Danish minister for climate, energy and utilities, co-chair of the Beyond Oil and Gas Alliance and chair of the Global Commission on People-Centred Clean Energy Transitions. Andrea Meza is the minister of environment and energy of Costa Rica.

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