COP26: France falls in with group pledging to end oil and gas exploration

Morten Buttler November 11, 2021

(Bloomberg) --France has joined a group of countries and states that support fixing a date to end fossil fuel exploration, putting its name to an initiative that was snubbed by the UK

The Beyond Oil and Gas Alliance (BOGA) represents a rare supply-side initiative to cut hydrocarbon production. The group, which was created by Denmark and Costa Rica in the lead-up to the COP26 climate summit in Glasgow, now has 11 signatories, according to a statement on Thursday. They include Sweden, Ireland, Greenland, Quebec, Wales, Portugal, California and New Zealand.

Though unique in its supply focus, current signatories to the alliance represent a negligible proportion of global fossil-fuel stocks. That’s raised questions about BOGA’s clout and of how likely it is to get major producers on board. The UK, which is hosting this year’s COP summit, says it won’t back the alliance because ending fossil fuel production could cause a cliff edge in energy supply.

“No other significant oil- and gas-producing nation has gone as far as the UK in supporting the sector’s gradual transition to a low-carbon future,” a spokesperson said in a statement earlier this week.

BOGA co-founder Denmark, once the European Union’s biggest producer of oil and gas, has more than halved production since the 2015 Paris accord, investing heavily in wind power instead. California, which like New Zealand is an associate member of the alliance, produced almost five times as much crude oil last year as Denmark, though its output has also been slashed in recent years. France is home to TotalEnergies SE, Europe’s biggest oil company after Royal Dutch Shell Plc.

The world won’t be able to limit global warming to the critical threshold of 1.5C without cutting fossil fuel production every year through 2030, BOGA said. At the current rate of commitments, however, production is set to continue rising this decade. The only way to decarbonize the planet and prevent catastrophic temperature gains is to ensure that more oil and gas resources are “left in the ground,” BOGA said.

Core members of BOGA must commit to set a fixed date to end oil and gas production that’s aligned with reaching the goals set out in the Paris Agreement. Associate members agree to “instigate significant measures contributing to a reduction in oil and gas production,” according to the statement.

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