Agreement at COP28 to phase out fossil fuels is ‘vital’ to averting disaster

Agreement at COP28 to phase out fossil fuels is 'vital' to averting disaster

An agreement at the COP28 summit to end the production and use of fossil fuels is vital to prevent a global climate catastrophe and stop an unprecedented human rights crisis which threatens the rights of billions of people from escalating, Amnesty International said today.

In a briefing entitled Fatal Fuels Amnesty International calls for parties at COP28, which starts later this month, to agree to a full, fair, fast and funded phase out of fossil fuels and a human-rights compliant transition to renewable power which facilitates access to energy for all.

“For decades the fossil fuel industry has spread disinformation about the climate crisis. The truth is that fossil fuels are endangering our future by wreaking havoc on the global climate and creating a human rights crisis of unprecedented scale,” said Candy Ofime, Amnesty International’s legal advisor on climate justice.

“If new fossil fuel projects go ahead we will fail to limit global warming this century to 1.5°C above pre-industrial levels and stave off catastrophic climate damage. COP28 is the time for states to agree to move beyond the fossil fuel era and leave behind its shameful record of climate damage and human rights abuses.

“The fossil fuel industry generates enormous wealth for relatively few corporate actors and states, which have a vested interest in blocking a just transition to renewable energy, and silencing opponents. These efforts endanger everyone’s right to a clean, healthy and sustainable environment.

“Fossil fuels are finite and trying to extract every last drop of oil, cubic foot of fossil gas, or tonne of coal prolongs and worsens the enormous damage they have already caused. Alternatives are at hand and renewable energy output is growing fast but much more investment is needed. COP28 must set a fast and equitable course for a sustainable future free of fossil fuels.”

Fatal Fuels recommends that all currently untapped fossil fuel resources remain in the ground forever. Industrialized and other high greenhouse gas emitting countries in the G20, as well as high income fossil fuel producing states, must agree to quickly lead the way by stopping the expansion of oil, gas and coal production. Others must then follow. In addition, there must be a significant reduction in the extraction of fossil fuels for non-energy purposes, such as the manufacturing of plastics.

The briefing adds that fossil fuel and energy companies cannot be allowed to rely on unproven technologies, such as carbon capture and storage, which their lobbyists frequently promote, to delay change. They should refrain from lobbying lawmakers, and greenwashing, which makes it more difficult for the public to access accurate information about climate science.

Financial institutions must cease investing in new activities that drive fossil fuel expansion, and phase out existing funding on a timeframe aligned with the target agreed internationally to keep global warming to below 1.5°C this century.

Developed countries, historically the largest emitters of greenhouse gases, need to deliver on their commitments to provide adequate climate finance to developing states to achieve an equitable and human rights-consistent phase out of existing fossil fuel production globally, facilitating a just transition to renewable sources of power.

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