Local governments step up to end fossil fuels at COP28

The C40 group – which represents leaders of the world’s major cities – spoke out with a collective demand to end fossil fuels. 

landscape photography of a city

On the opening day of the UN’s climate summit, COP28, local governments from across the globe issued an urgent demand for a clear and workable path towards ending the use of gas, oil and other highly polluting fuel types.

Leaders of almost 200 nations are in attendance at the two-week event, and were greeted with an open letter signed by some of the most influential regional politicians on the planet, explaining the need to face up to an ‘inescapable truth’ that fossil fuels must be abandoned to stand a chance of meeting even the most moderate climate targets.

Mayors of London, New York, Beijng, Paris and Tokyo are among the signatories, adding to an already prominent league of advocacy groups and countries demanding that COP28 produces a binding agreement on how to move the world’s economy away from oil and gas. In 28 years, COP has failed to produce any deal that specifically includes language on phasing out fossil fuels. However, hopes are high that this could finally happen in 2023, with major petroleum economies including the United States and Saudi Arabia rumoured to now be willing to seriously negotiate.

However, disagreements continue to wage over ongoing ‘abated’ use of fossil fuels, with some countries in support of extraction and consumption, with gradually reducing limits, through to the halfway point of this century. Collectively, the world’s governments are planning on spending $200billion to make this possible. Advocates believe this is the only solution to reducing fossil fuel use to zero without major upheaval, while critics argue the technology is unproven at scale.

‘We must phase out fossil fuels to protect our climate but also to protect people from the unjust impacts on their health and standard of living,’ the letter, co-signed by C40 chairs Sadiq Khan, Mayor of London, and Yvonne Aki-Sawyerr, Mayor of Freetown, Sierra Leone. Measures ‘to curb the undue influence of the fossil fuel industry, to move public money from fossil fuels to a just and clean energy transition and partner with us to accelerate action and prosperity’ were also demanded.

Image: Richard R. Schünemann


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