COP22: Civil society calls for halt to fossil fuel extraction
Marrakech, Nov 14 (IANS) Civil society groups from across the globe on Monday demanded from the world leaders at the 22nd Climate Change Conference (COP22) a halt to all fossil fuel extraction and making an urgent transition to clean energy.
A coalition of over 375 organisations delivered a letter to global leaders with an urgent demand for climate action: No new fossil fuel development.
“Limiting global warming to 1.5 degrees Celsius is a matter of equity and essential to contain harmful climate impacts. When celebrating the Paris Agreement at COP22, government leaders must commit to take more action and ramp up finance for poorer countries,” said Sven Harmeling, Climate Change Advocacy Coordinator of CARE International.
According to experts, the going back on the agreement’s pollution-cutting pledges leaves the planet on track for three degree Celsius temperature rise, which could inflict catastrophic damage on vulnerable communities and ecosystems.
But leaders said this demand could not happen immediately.
“Their (activists) concerns are appreciated but when we are making policies of country or world, you can’t think like an activist, have to have a holistic approach. Can’t stop all the machines or railways. We are thinking of a broader solution,” Indian Environment Minister Anil Dave said here.
Environment organisations are demanding that the COP22 must reinforce Paris Agreement goal and the need for enhanced action as a matter of survival for vulnerable countries.
A report released here said that a recent Oil Change International study found that just the reserves in currently operating gas and oilfields alone, even without coal, would take the planet dangerously beyond 1.5 degrees Celsius of warming.
“Muslim countries and communities must take climate action at the local and global level to implement their faith teaching by transitioning from fossil fuel based to clean energy based development,” said Nana Firman, Co-coordinator of the Global Muslim Climate Network (GMCN).
“It is crucial to build strong coordination and collaboration between Muslim nations, and to accelerate the increase of renewable into their national energy-mix in order to ensure justice in achieving the 1.5 degrees Celsius temperature limit,” he said.
Oil Change International shows that operating coal, oil and gas projects contain enough carbon pollution to push the planet beyond the red lines of warming laid down in Paris and has made an urgent call for renewable energy.
“In light of the current political climate hovering over the climate talks, I think it is now more urgent than ever to move forward with our common 100 per cent renewable energy agenda,” said Climate Action Network’s Executive Director Wael Hmaidan.
Activists said that governments must now put their Paris pledges into action — and action means no more room for new fossil fuel projects.
At COP22, India has projected its ambitious solar power and renewable energy plans and commitment to become 100 per cent electric vehicle nation by 2030.
The renewable project at Tamil Nadu on completion will become world’s second largest and one of the world’s largest onshore wind farm. India’s commitment is being lauded as it embarks on its plan to deploy 100 GW of solar power by 2022.
However, India is still powered by coal with more than 60 per cent of its power coming from coal based power plants. India claims of being on a transition path and things would fall in place even before 2020-22, as it has set to achieve 175 GW of power by clean energy, 100 GW of which has to be solar.
(Kushagra Dixit is at COP22 in Marrakech. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org)