If we are to keep global temperature rise below 1.5°C and avoid the most catastrophic impacts of climate change, by 2030 we must cut emissions in half – and eliminate them entirely by 2050.
How we define a problem determines how we identify its solutions. From its inception, the international climate negotiating platform — the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) — failed to acknowledge fossil fuels as the primary driver of the climate crisis. That glaring omission was no accident: Those profiting from business-as-usual have actively influenced the narrative, obscured facts, and manipulated information to perpetuate our reliance on fossil fuels.
If big polluters refuse to face up to the facts that fossil fuels are today’s weapons of mass destruction, and to urgently step up their actions to phase out all oil, gas, and coal — without loopholes or limitations — then they better lawyer up. They will be called to account not just in the court of public opinion, but in the courts of law.
– Nikki Reisch
At the latest global climate talks in Egypt (COP27), CIEL and our partners succeeded in putting fossil fuels squarely on the agenda of the UNFCCC. But the fossil fuel industry has a new ploy to deflect attention from the urgent need to phase out oil, gas, and coal: “net zero.” Under the guise of carbon offsets, carbon capture, and geoengineering technologies, net zero creates a misleading diversion and promotes a dangerous distraction. It suggests that, instead of reducing emissions outright by stopping them at their source, we can manipulate the math.
The science is clear: We must cut global emissions in half by 2030. Carbon offsets and carbon removal technologies cannot replace real emissions reductions. Net zero greenwashing delays crucial climate action and places a burden on communities already bearing the brunt of the climate crisis. Last year, CIEL and partners helped secure key recommendations from a UN High-Level Expert Group, which affirmed that real zero emissions requires commitments to phase out and discontinue support for ALL fossil fuels — coal, oil, and gas.