Report Demands Wealthy Nations to Phase Out Fossil Fuels by 2031

Revealing a stark reality, the report titled; ‘Equitable Phaseout of Fossil Fuel Extraction: Towards a Reference Framework for a Fair and rapid global phaseout,’ from the Civil Society Equity Review during the COP28; to keep the 1.5ºC climate target alive, affluent countries must halt fossil fuel extraction by 2031 at the latest.

The urgency of this call is highlighted by the report’s key findings, which include the need for an immediate decline in fossil fuel extraction globally, a rapid phase-down in the coming decades, and a complete cessation by 2050 to have a fighting chance of limiting warming to 1.5ºC. The report asserts that no new fossil fuel extraction infrastructure should be developed worldwide, and all investments in further build-out must cease immediately.

The report places specific responsibility on wealthy nations, including the United States, UK, Australia, Germany, and Canada, emphasizing that they must phase out all fossil fuel extraction by the early 2030s. Simultaneously, these countries are urged to provide substantial financial support to poorer nations heavily dependent on fossil fuel revenues and employment.

Greg Muttitt from the International Institute for Sustainable Development stresses the need for a just transition, stating, “To make a just transition possible in countries whose economies depend heavily on fossil fuel revenues and jobs, wealthy countries should phase out their fossil fuels within just 8 years, and provide significant amounts of support to poorer countries.”

The report further reveals that countries less dependent on fossil fuel extraction, such as the United States, Norway, Australia, and the UK, must play a crucial role in shouldering the burden
of an accelerated phase-out, acknowledging their greater capacity to deliver solutions to the global climate crisis.

Dr. Sivan Kartha of the Stockholm Environment Institute highlights the disparity between countries’ mitigation pledges under the Paris Agreement and their actual plans for fossil fuel production. The report insists on a globally fair arrangement that allocates time and resources to poorer nations for managing rapid transitions away from fossil fuel production and consumption.

The Civil Society Equity Review report is not just a collection of dire warnings; it offers a structured framework for a fair and rapid global phase-out, rooted in principles of equity and justice. Dr. Amiera Sawas of the Fossil Fuel Non-Proliferation Treaty Initiative praises the report for its “solution-oriented approach,” fostering international collaboration for a just transition.

As the global community grapples with the enormity of the climate crisis, this report serves as a clarion call for immediate and equitable action. COP28, with its potential to shape the future trajectory of climate policies, must heed this call and prioritize the well-being of our planet and its inhabitants. The time for rhetoric is over; the time for decisive action is now.

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