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The 2-day World Leaders summit ended Saturday. But negotiators, activists, and advocates remain to determine the outcomes of this year’s COP.

Today, Earthworks and others kept the drumbeat to get the phase-out commitment. At an event featuring the Attorney General of California, Rob Bonta, the AG spoke about holding the industry accountable for false claims that somehow the causers of the climate crisis are also the solution. We need more state government leaders to take action like this.

In not major enough announcement news… A “major announcement” made last night by Dr. Sultan Al Jaber fell far short of the demands from around the world to phase out fossil fuels. 

The voluntary initiative was announced with US Climate Envoy John Kerry at an event. The collection of government and industry agreements aims to triple (3x) clean energy production, double (2x) energy efficiency, and target reductions to methane and other non-CO2 greenhouse gases. 

Why isn’t this enough?

  • First, it relies on voluntary commitments from the fossil fuel industry, which Earthworks has shown JUST DON’T WORK. The government must require companies to do the right thing for people, not just work for more profit.
  • Second, and most importantly, it fails to address the fact that fossil fuels are the cause of the climate crisis, and the world cannot keep expanding them. We need a phase-out.

Sure, all of these elements are essential in the fight against worsening climate change. But this initiative cannot be the last word at COP on ending the cause of the climate crisis, the extraction and burning of fossil fuels.

Biggest obstacle to the phase-out: It doesn’t help that Dr. Sultan Al Jaber doesn’t believe there’s science behind the need to phase out fossil fuels, as the Guardian reported today. BUT THE SCIENCE AND DATA DOES! Just ask the consensus of climate scientists and economists at the International Energy Agency.

What’s next? World leaders have left, but the staff remains and activists are dug in for the remaining week and a half of negotiations. The outcome we’re all looking toward is the joint statement of all parties to the Paris Agreement that will come at the conclusion of the conference next week.

There’s a lot that will happen between then and now. And a lot of progress will need to be made. Nothing less than the credibility of the Paris Agreement and the COP process is at stake.

Stay tuned.