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It is time to phase out fossil fuels


On March 20, the United Nations’ top experts in climate science released a synthesis report on climate change. In it, the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), the world’s largest climate science body, declares that we have fallen dangerously behind in managing climate change as our greenhouse gas emissions continue to grow, rather than decline.

“The pace and scale of what has been done so far, and current plans, are insufficient to address climate change,” the report authors warn.

Despite this and previous warnings from scientists, the world is dragging on in taking the drastic climate action needed to prevent the world from warming more than 1.5 degrees Celsius – the threshold above which climate change will have the most devastating impact on the world. humanity.

We are already witnessing what climate chaos can do to our civilization. Our nations – the United States and Bangladesh – are already suffering. Millions of Americans and Bangladeshis have been affected by floods, droughts and other extreme weather, exacerbated by climate change. We have lost countless lives and suffered huge economic losses due to our inaction.

As elected representatives in the US and Bangladeshi legislatures concerned about the plight of our communities, we call for immediate action on climate change. We know that we cannot limit global warming to 1.5°C unless we significantly reduce our carbon emissions. That’s why we need to agree that we start phasing out fossil fuels from now on.

The IPCC report is the latest and most urgent warning that we need to drastically reduce our dependence on fossil fuels.

Burning coal, oil and gas has been the source of 64 percent of carbon dioxide emissions since the industrial revolution; in the past 10 years this percentage has grown to 86 percent. Carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gases are driving up the Earth’s temperature, leading to a spiraling crisis of extreme weather, rising sea levels, disease, loss of biodiversity, water stress and poverty.

Despite being aware of this problem for decades, the fossil fuel industry continues to put profit first and ignore the warnings of scientists. That’s why we need leaders who put people first.

We need leaders at international financial institutions like the World Bank who are determined to tackle climate change and better support vulnerable countries – not double-investment in fossil fuel investments.

Since signing the Paris Agreement, the World Bank has continued to invest billions in fossil fuel projects. It has fallen behind on its already meager climate commitments, which are less ambitious than other development banks’ baseline targets. The World Bank and other international financial institutions must take immediate action and commit to a fossil fuel phase-out that meets the 1.5°C target.

We also need elected officials in countries around the world to work together to address this planetary crisis. We need heads of state to step up the pace of talks to end fossil fuels and follow the example of those leading the way.

Tuvalu, Vanuatu and the European Parliament have approved the Fossil Fuel Non-Proliferation Treaty. Colombia says it will ban new oil and gas exploration. Costa Rica and Denmark have created the Beyond Oil and Gas Alliance, a growing cluster of countries promoting the guided phase-out of oil and gas production. That list needs to grow.

Developed countries such as the United States bear a much greater responsibility for climate change than the countries most affected by it, such as Bangladesh. Yet the latter are forced to foot the bill for the devastation wrought on their shores. We cannot continue to allow rich countries to externalize the damage of their pollution wave.

That is why we also need leaders to deliver on the pledge of support made at last year’s COP27 to countries on the front lines of climate change, and to make meaningful contributions to an international loss and damage fund.

International cooperation, commitments and treaties work because they provide accountability and set deadlines. At the same time as we work on domestic efforts – from Bangladesh’s visionary Mujib Climate Prosperity Plan to the United States’ Inflation Reduction Act – we must engage as a global community to phase out fossil fuels.

A global commitment to phase out fossil fuels would add urgency and decisiveness to a debate in which we have no time to lose. That’s why we joined hundreds of parliamentarians from all over the world calling for stronger international cooperation to end fossil fuels.

This year lies ahead of a political opportunity to make that happen. The first “global inventory” – a convention held by the United Nations to measure the progress of countries and other stakeholders in achieving the goals set out in the Paris Agreement – is our chance to get a reality check, pushing the political reset button and getting to work is hard to avert the most devastating impacts of climate change.

It’s time to end the cause of this carnage and seize the moment to phase out fossil fuels for good.

The views expressed in this article are those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect the editorial view of Al Jazeera.

Merry C. Vega is a highly respected and accomplished news author. She began her career as a journalist, covering local news for a small-town newspaper. She quickly gained a reputation for her thorough reporting and ability to uncover the truth.

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