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Friends of the Earth calls on Irish Government to join the Beyond Oil and Gas Alliance at COP26

Posted by Jerry Mac Evilly on November 04, 2021 at 11:13 AM


Friends of the Earth has written to Minister Ryan and Minister Coveney, calling on Ireland to join the newly formed Beyond Oil and Gas Alliance of states.

The Beyond Oil and Gas Alliance (BOGA) has been established by the Governments of Denmark and Costa Rica and will be officially launched at COP26 this month. The BOGA is a diplomatic initiative to bring together states that have ended licensing for new oil and gas exploration and production. It is the first such initiative to recognise the need for governments to manage the phase out of fossil fuel production in order to respond to the climate emergency and align with Paris Agreement commitments. It is understood that the BOGA will seek to address a clear process to phase out oil and gas production for both developed and developing countries. It will provide a forum for shared dialogue in order to support countries in their energy transition, particularly those most reliant on fossil fuels.

Friends of the Earth is clear that the fossil fuel era must be brought to an end. We need to keep fossil fuels in the ground. That means no new fossil fuel investments and infrastructure at home or abroad. We need a just transition for workers, which includes a shift away from polluting industries and investing in renewable energy and energy efficiency to create unionised green jobs and services. At the very least half of all existing gas reserves need to stay in the ground unburned to keep global heating to less than 2C, more if we are serious about the Paris goal of 1.5C. The International Energy Agency in their recent analysis of achieving net zero emissions globally by 2050 concluded that “beyond projects already committed as of 2021, there are no new oil and gas fields approved for development"

In recent years Ireland has taken some positive steps with laws to ban fracking and to make the state investment fund pull its money out of fossil fuels. And we are phasing out the burning of coal and peat to make electricity. Now we need to make sure we don't get hooked on gas instead. A year ago Leo Varadkar and Micheál Martin produced a letter to their Green Party counterparts which noted "Both of our parties accept that as we move towards carbon neutrality, it does not make sense to build new large scale fossil fuel infrastructure such as liquefied natural gas import terminals". The Government introduced legislation to prevent new licences for oil and gas exploration in Irish waters in July this year.

There is already a legislative ban on fracked gas in Ireland since 2017. There is also legislation in place to make the state investment fund pull its money out of fossil fuels Through membership of the Beyond Oil and Gas Alliance, Ireland has a clear opportunity to demonstrate international climate leadership which fully aligns with its UN Security Council membership. COP26 will see an increasing focus on governments claiming climate ambition while remaining silent on fossil fuel production in their territory.

We ask that the Government builds on previous successes and takes this opportunity to now join the Alliance. In our letter to Ministers Ryan and Coveney Friends of the Earth highlight the importance of the Alliance and set out several relevant positive policy developments which make Ireland’s participation in the BOGA a rational and strategic step.

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