An oil pump in the Zaire region of Angola

An oil pump in the Zaire region of Angola. Photo: JBDodane / Flickr.

The Paris Agreement has rightly be hailed as a victory for multilateral diplomacy, and a key step towards moving the global economy onto a low-carbon pathway. Yet for all its good provisions, the agreement leaves out a crucial issue: the need to break the world’s dependency on fossil fuels.

Fossil fuel combustion is the source of about 60% of global greenhouse gas emissions, and the main driver of emissions growth. Yet since its inception, the UN climate convention has been seen as an environmental rather than an energy-related agreement.  Given the close linkages between energy policy, natural resources and national interests, it should not be surprising that the climate talks have avoided directly addressing fossil fuel consumption and production. In fact, the word “fossil” does not appear a single time in the Paris Agreement. Even a proposal urging countries to reduce international support for high-emissions investments was cut from the final draft.

Yet on the ground, significant momentum has been building to tackle fossil fuels at their source, by trying to block new production and exports, and change the economics of the industry. A growing movement is pushing major institutional investors to divest from fossil fuels.

Source: Climate Home, UK