530 organizations in 76 countries sign Lofoten Declaration calling for phase out of oil, gas as pathway to climate security, strong economy

September 23, 2019

Oil and gas production is fueling the climate emergency, and government leaders must stop expanding and financing the problem

Traditional lands of the Lenape people (New York, NY) — As government and industry leaders gather in New York to discuss climate change, a growing movement of civic organizations are calling on them to address the biggest threat to climate security — the production of oil and gas.

Emissions from developed oil and gas reserves will result in more than 1.5 degrees celsius of warming [1]. Yet, the oil and gas industry plans to spend $1.4 trillion USD over the next five years to expand production. This will add 92 gigatonnes of carbon pollution, taking the world well beyond 2 degrees, even if the production and use of coal is completely phased out.

“If a house is on fire, you don’t add fuel. True leadership in response to the climate emergency means having the courage to commit to ending the expansion of oil and gas production and make a plan to transition communities and workers to better opportunities,” said Catherine Abreu of Climate Action Network.

In light of this reality, The Lofoten Declaration – Phasing Out Oil and Gas Production for a Safe Climate and Strong Economy has been signed by over 530 organizations spanning 76 countries. Signatories are demanding government and industry commit to phase out fossil fuel production and accelerate the transition to clean energy and other low-carbon solutions. The declaration calls on high-income economies that benefitted from fossil fuel extraction and are historically responsible for significant emissions to lead.

“Everyone knows the world must dramatically reduce production and emissions of fossil fuels if we are going to have a safe climate. Yet everyone continues to argue that their oil and gas expansion fits within a global plan. The math doesn’t work,” said Tzeporah Berman of Stand.earth. “Expansion of oil and gas threatens us all and we need to stop pretending the solution is a technological fix and stop expansion by regulating production globally.”  

Cutting greenhouse gas emissions by 50 percent over the next decade will require removing finance and subsidies and banning license, contract and permits for new oil and gas development, developing plans to phase out existing production at a pace aligned with the Paris Agreement, and supporting communities and workers in oil and gas regions in consultation with trade unions and local leaders. 

Governments and businesses are taking steps to reduce the climate and economic risks related to oil and gas. Costa Rica, France, New Zealand and Belize banned new oil and gas projects in some or all of their territories, and there are ongoing debates about doing the same in countries such as Sweden, Spain and Ireland. More than 1,000 institutions including the World Bank and other financial organizations have removed more than $11 trillion in financing from fossil fuels [2].

“With the transition to clean energy well underway, a growing number of investors see oil and gas projects as a bad investment,” said Alex Doukas of Oil Change International. “We’re in the midst of a climate emergency, and massive surge in climate activism makes it increasingly untenable for financiers to continue wasting money on an oil and gas industry that ultimately needs to disappear if we’re serious about climate action.”

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Media contacts:
Alex Doukas, Oil Change International: +1 202 817 0357
Catherine Abreu, Climate Action Network: +1 902 412 8953
Tzeporah Berman, Stand.earth: +1 604 313 4713, media@stand.earth

Media Backgrounder

Tackling the climate crisis will require rapidly phasing out fossil fuels while promoting an equitable transition to 100% renewable energy.

The Climate Change Imperative

The oil and gas industry, supported by governments and investors, plans to significantly increase oil and gas supply over the next decade. Over the next five years alone, industry plans to spend $1.4 trillion USD to lock in 92 gigatonnes of additional CO2 emissions by expanding production. If this is allowed to happen, it will mean that achieving the Paris goals becomes practically impossible, even if strong action is taken to reduce coal use and the demand for fossil fuels.