As the United Nations climate talks in Bonn, Germany became the latest in a string of high-profile negotiations to end with little substantive progress, a coalition of environmental groups on Thursday announced plans for a global mobilization that organizers say will bring millions into the streets to demand an end to planet-wrecking fossil fuel production.
The worldwide protests are set to take place on September 15 and 17, days ahead of U.N. Secretary-General António Guterres’ September 20 Climate Ambition Summit in New York City and weeks before the crucial COP28 talks in the United Arab Emirates, which will be overseen by the CEO of one of the world’s largest oil companies.
“The launch of today’s escalation campaign to fight back against fossil fuels builds on the legacy of a diversity of resistance movements from across the world who have been leading the fight against the fossil industry and its pernicious influence,” said Tasneem Essop, executive director of the Climate Action Network. “We expect all governments to implement a rapid, just, and equitable phaseout of fossil fuels together with a scaled-up phase-in of renewables.”
“They have to signal that this is the end of the fossil fuel era,” Essop added. “COP28 is a good place to start.”
The coalition behind the mass mobilization invited people around the world to register local events and issued a list of straightforward demands that they say political leaders must embrace if there’s to be any hope of curbing runaway warming.
“The climate crisis is escalating but so is the global movement for climate justice,” the coalition says on its website. “We need all hands on deck to win this fight.”
The six demands are as follows:
- No new fossil fuels—no new finance public or private, no new approvals, licenses, permits, or extensions. The provision of sufficient, consensual climate funding to realize this commitment everywhere.
- A rapid, just, and equitable phaseout of existing fossil fuel infrastructure in line with the 1.5°C temperature limit and a global plan, like a Fossil Fuel Treaty, to ensure that each country does its part.
- New commitments for international cooperation to drastically scale up financial and technology transfers to ensure renewable energy access, economic diversification plans, and Just Transition processes so that every country and community can phase out fossil fuels.
- Stop greenwashing and claiming that offsets, carbon capture and storage, or geoengineering are solutions to the climate crisis.
- Hold polluters responsible for the damage they’ve caused and make sure it’s coal, oil, and gas corporations that pay reparations for climate loss and damage and for local rehabilitation, remediation, and transition.
- End fossil fuel corporate capture. No to corporations writing the rules of climate action, bankrolling climate talks, or undermining the global response to climate change.
Brenna TwoBears, coordinator of the Indigenous Environmental Network, said in a statement Thursday that “the time is now to end fossil fuels.”
“This has been centuries in the making, when colonizers brought the first extractive systems to Turtle Island and commodified the land,” she added. “But shutting down fossil fuels is only one strand among many to weave a basket to hold up the next seven generations. We need a just and equitable transition, where Indigenous people are leading. We need a culture shift to live in balance with our sky and land relatives. We need real solutions that address the problem at its root, not after the fact. A fossil fuel non-proliferation treaty is that real solution.”
Plans for the global days of action come amid growing frustration and alarm among climate advocates and scientists over world leaders’ continued failure to deliver any meaningful action to phase out fossil fuel use and production—the central driver of the planetary emergency—even as carbon emissions keep rising at a record pace and extreme weather wreaks havoc across the globe.
COP27 in Egypt late last year did not yield any meaningful progress toward a global fossil fuel phaseout, and campaigners feel COP28 is also poised to fail given the still-pervasive influence of the oil and gas industry and rich nations’ refusal to act.
Sultan Ahmed al-Jaber, COP28’s president-designate, is the CEO of the UAE’s state-owned Abu Dhabi National Oil Company.
The Guardianreported last week that “Majid Al Suwaidi, director-general of the COP28 climate talks for its host nation… said governments were not in agreement over whether the phaseout of fossil fuels should be on the agenda for the conference, which begins in November.”
“Al Suwaidi said fossil fuels would form a key part of the discussions at COP28,” the newspaper added, “but whether a phaseout would be discussed as part of the official agenda of the talks was still up for grabs.”
Romain Ioualalen, the global policy lead for Oil Change International, emphasized Thursday that “there is no room for additional fossil fuel expansion while limiting global temperature rise to 1.5°C” and implored world leaders to “urgently lay the path for the end of oil, gas, and coal” at COP28.
“People around the world have been fighting against the fossil fuel industry for years and will escalate this fight this September at the United Nations in New York and beyond to secure a full, fair, fast, and funded fossil fuel phaseout and massive expansion of renewable energy,” said Ioualalen.
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