7 countries vow to end new oil and gas exploration

Yesterday at COP26, seven countries and one Canadian province joined forces as the Beyond Oil and Gas Alliance. BOGA members committed to stop exploring for and producing oil and gas.

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Since none of the seven is a major oil or gas producer, the pledge seems more symbolic than practical for solving the climate crisis. But Costa Rica, Denmark, France, Greenland, Ireland, Sweden, Wales and Quebec are bravely taking the lead as BOGA’s core members. Portugal, New Zealand and California were dubbed associate members for their “significant, concrete steps” in reducing oil and gas production.

Related: Will promises from world leaders at COP26 actually happen?

“If we want to address the climate crisis, we need a managed but decisive phase-out of oil and gas production,” said Andrea Meza, the minister of environment and energy of Costa Rica, in a statement. Costa Rica — which doesn’t produce oil or gas — and Denmark founded and are co-chairing the new alliance. Denmark is the European Union’s biggest oil producer, but that’s not saying much, as they produce less than 1% of the United States’ 2019 oil output.

In addition to ending exploration and oil drilling, BOGA members have promised to decrease all fossil fuel production in line with the Paris Agreement timeline. Lars Koch of ActionAid Denmark said BOGA presented a test for oil-producing countries. “If they don’t become members of this alliance, what they are actually saying is, ‘We don’t mean what we say about 1.5,’” he said, as reported by Grist. “It is just pure, deep greenwashing.” 

Despite a lot of nice words in Glasgow, most of the world’s major economies are still on track to produce way more oil, coal and gas than the Paris Agreement global warming target can bear: about 110% of that target, according to a report the United Nations released last month. In the U.S., the Biden administration plans to open 80 million acres in the Gulf of Mexico to drilling next week and to lease huge tracts of public lands for new gas and oil development early next year.

So, uh, how are we cutting emissions in half by 2030?

Via Grist