In a bid to limit global warming within 1.5 degrees Celsius, parliamentarians across the globe have called for a ceasing of any expansion of fossil fuel use and ensuring a future of clean energy.
Over 550 representatives from 70 countries made the call in a joint statement at a press conference at the 27th United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change Conference (COP27) taking place at Egyptian resort city Sharm El-Sheikh.
“We are trying to address the root cause [of climate change]. We are trying to look at the disease, not the symptom,” said Saber Hossain Chowdhury, one of the initiators of Parliamentarians’ Call for a Fossil Fuel Free Future.
He said, “We look at science. Science is as conclusive and extremely clear on one point. If we want to keep the global temperature within 1.5 degrees, then there can be no new production of fossil fuel and its use cannot be expanded.”
Replying to a question from The Business Post on clean energy, he said, “Renewable energy is cheaper, cleaner and it provides more jobs.”
Before appearing at the press conference, over 550 parliamentarians from 70 countries gathered for their first-ever Global Assembly on November 12, 2022 during the COP27.
The assembly passed a declaration calling all parties at COP27 to commit to stop the expansion of new oil, gas, coal projects and align phasing out fossil fuel use to achieve the 1.5-degree Celsius global temperature goal.
In its declaration, the assembly also called on parties to make a clear and unequivocal commitment to a global, rapid, just and equitable transition out of fossil fuels, and to work together on the negotiation of a Fossil Fuel Non-Proliferation Treaty, with a particular focus on climate justice.
“Staying within the 1.5-degree limit is an absolute imperative and expansion of fossil fuel is totally incompatible with this limit. Our network convened our first global assembly to discuss how we can build a future free of coal, oil and gas,” Saber said.
“We are nationally elected officials serving millions of people in various countries, and we have representatives from every continent. We are just beginning and we look forward to hundreds of elected officials around the world working together,” said Patrick Okabe, a member of parliament from Uganda.
Parliamentarians from Uruguay, Peru, Columbia, Liberia also spoke in the press conference.
This story was produced as part of the 2022 Climate Change Media Partnership, a journalism fellowship organized by Internews' Earth Journalism Network and the Stanley Center for Peace and Security. It was first published in The Business Post on 15 November 2022 and has been lightly edited for length and clarity.
Banner image: Negotiators during a session at COP27 / Credit: Kiara Worth/UNFCCC.