COP26: Big Producers Shun New Alliance Committing To End Oil Extraction

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France, Sweden and Ireland have joined a Denmark and Costa Rica-led alliance of countries committed to ending future oil and gas production within their borders.

But this alliance have been shunned by big producers, especially members of the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC).

Portugal, California and New Zealand stopped shy of that pledge, but committed to “significant concrete steps” to curb oil and gas production, while Italy, the European Union’s second biggest oil producer, made a less ambitious promise, saying it would align future oil and gas extraction with the 2015 Paris Agreement, according to NewScientist report.

The new Beyond Oil and Gas Alliance (BOGA) was hailed as important by campaigners pushing for a global treaty on stopping fossil fuel extraction, modeled on nuclear weapons proliferation treaties.

However, the alliance, launched at the COP26 Summit in Glasgow on Thursday, lacks any significant oil and gas producers promising to end extraction.

The UK government, which is hosting the summit, hasn’t signed up to the new initiative, an absence that the charity Oxfam said was disappointing. UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson told reporters in Glasgow yesterday that he will look at what Denmark and Costa Rica announce, but didn’t explain why the UK wasn’t joining, according to NewScientist.

At present, the core members of the new alliance are Costa Rica, Denmark, France, Greenland, Ireland, Sweden, Wales and the Canadian province of Quebec. However, Wales doesn’t have the ability to issue oil and gas licences; that power lies with the UK government. Portugal, California and New Zealand are “associate” members of BOGA, while Italy is deemed a “friend” of the coalition.

“Our goal is not small, our ambition is not modest. We hope today will mark the beginning of the end of oil and gas,” NewScientist reported Dan Jørgensen, Denmark’s minister for climate, energy and utilities, as saying.

Last year, Denmark said that it would no longer issue new oil and gas licences, but there is no date yet for when the other countries will stop permitting new oil and gas projects. France produces very little oil and gas but in 2017 a law banning new oil and gas projects by 2040.

“The launch marks a departure from decades of international climate policy in which the question of aligning the production of fossil fuels with carbon budgets was ignored,” said Tzeporah Berman of the Fossil Fuel Non-Proliferation Treaty Initiative in a statement. “We urge other countries to join this important initiative to stop the expansion of oil, gas and coal.”

A draft of COP26 final agreement calls for an accelerated phase-out of coal, though negotiations today and tomorrow may see that cut from the text. Some countries at the summit have been pushing in negotiations for oil and gas to be added to the draft.

Similarly, a new analysis found that deals on the sidelines of the climate summit, on deforestation, methane, coal and cars, have made a sizeable dent in future carbon dioxide emissions which could lower 2030 global emissions by about 2 billion tonnes, roughly 5 percent of global emissions in 2021.

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