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COP27 risks being labeled a failure – CSOs  

As the UN Climate Conference enters its final days, a coalition of civil society organisations warns that the COP27 risks being labeled a failure as debate rages over plans to ensure the final decision text of the conference includes commitments to phase out all fossil fuels.


At a media session on Wednesday, November 16, 2022, experts called on COP27 decision-makers to commit to ensuring that a swift, just and equitable phase-out of fossil fuels is secured in the final text, in order to stay at 1.5 degrees.

May Boeve of 350.org says: “As so often in these negotiations we are seeing make-or-break scenarios, this COP is no different. We once again stand at a crossroads where decisions made in the next 48 hours will impact the world for years to come. So today this is what civil society is doing: calling for a phase-out of fossil fuels.

“This is our rallying cry – from actions, press conferences, to side events, today is the day where we, the civil society movement, are holding governments to account and demanding that an equitable, managed, and just phase out of all fossil fuels must be in the cover decision of COP27. Anything less than what we achieved in Glasgow will be viewed as a failure by the world.”

Harjeet Singh, CAN International: “We came here to demand climate justice, but we know what’s happening. There are more than 630 fossil fuel lobbyists who have turned this COP into an expo, and they are making the climate crisis worse. The fossil fuel industry is directly responsible for the death and destruction we are seeing around the world and this same industry is profiting from the crisis, making obscene profits.

“Currently, the cover text does not mention the phase-out of fossil fuels, and they need to be mentioned in their entirety. It’s time to call out those countries which are not allowing this critical wording on fossil fuels in the cover text.”

Omar Elmawi, Stop EACOP, 350.org: “I am here with a clear and simple message: It is unacceptable to even consider huge projects such as the planned East African Crude Oil Pipeline (EACOP) when rapid and deep emission cuts are needed to avoid catastrophic climate impacts. We do not accept that the need to address the energy crisis can be used to greenlight fossil fuel projects, including risky gas developments.

“This message needs to be heard, acted on and commitments made to halt such projects. Finances should be channeled into a just transition to community-led renewable energy. We need true and real solutions for the African continent.”

Luisa Nebauer, Fridays for Future, Germany: “This COP has turned into a fossil fuel energy theater. I can’t believe that I am here, with two days left till the end of these climate talks, fighting for fossil fuel inclusion in the final text, when we know that the climate crisis is being caused by fossil fuels. This COP must be the one where fossil fuels come to an end.”

Jo Sikulu, Pacific Climate Warriors, 350.org: “The message from the Pacific is very clear. The continued extraction of fossil fuels will push us far beyond 1.5 degrees of warming, which means more intense cyclones, more floods, and more sea level rise eating at our shorelines and destroying our homes. We are fatigued from constantly telling our stories of how the climate crisis impacts us, but the Pacific continues to display climate leadership.

“Tuvalu and Vanuatu were the first state parties to push for a Fossil Fuel Non-Proliferation Treaty, and we are here to show them that the Pacific is behind them. We must keep 1.5 degrees in the cover text for COP27 and demand the phase-out of fossil fuels. We need those in the decision-making rooms to do the same because 1.5 degrees of warming is not just a target, it is a limit.”

David Tong, Oil Change International: “Peer-reviewed research shows that oil and gas fields and coal mines that were already producing or under construction before 2022 hold enough fossil fuel reserves to push the world well past 2ºC, let alone 1.5°C. But despite these realities, the oil and gas industry keeps on approving new extraction projects that lock in even more climate pollution.

“A new Oil Change International briefing reveals that new oil and gas production approved to date in 2022 and at risk of approval over the next three years could cumulatively lock in 70 billion tonnes of new carbon pollution – equivalent to 17 percent of the world’s remaining 1.5°C carbon budget. And this is just the new production. The production underway at the start of 2022 was already enough to take us beyond 1.5ºC.”

According to the campaigners, the good news is that almost 85% have not yet received final approval.

“The final investment decisions have not been made. People and communities are rising against many of them. They can still be stopped. Governments must play their part. Governments must phase out fossil fuels, on the basis of equity alongside just transition measures. It is too late to confront one fossil fuel at a time. Phase out oil. Phase out gas. Phase out coal. Put it in the text,” they insist.

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