Proposal from Oilwatch International for COP21, Paris, December 2015
The purpose of this document is to present the commitments and efforts of the peoples, nationalities, and communities against the extraction of oil, gas, or carbon, as a contribution to avoid climate disaster.
In addition to these commitments, we present our petition to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) and member governments to recognize, respect, promote, and protect these actions as a goal to protect climate and life on the planet.
Group Annex 0: A way to recognize and respect real commitments and efforts
The United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change, executed at the Rio Summit in 1992, divided member states in two groups: Annex I that included industrialized countries of the North plus such countries with economies in transition; and Non Annex I that essentially included the countries of the global South. Later came Annex II that included the members of Annex I that were obliged to provide financial and technical resources to allow the countries of the South to undertake activities to reduce emissions and perform adaptation initiatives. Oilwatch states that, since the nineteenth century the capitalist development drive for the countries of Annex I and II has been carbon, oil, and gas exploitation, and that they have done everything in their power to stop any decision that may lead to specific and binding actions to reduce the consumption of these fossil fuels. After more than 20 years of international negotiations, global warming continues in rise with no effective and real solutions to stop it.
In this scenario, one of the obstacles has been the direct influence that corporations linked to fossil fuels have on the Convention’s decisions. At present this corporate sector is part of the promoters of false solutions that aggravate greenhouse effect rise, such as the carbon market, agrofuels, REDD, geo-engineering, and oil technologies such as Carbon Capture and Storage (CCS), among others. Simultaneously, they expand their territorial scope to the so-called new frontiers: deep seas and “non-conventional” deposits where the malignant fracking.
If this were not enough, the limited vision of the United Nations, focused on promoting negotiations between parties, which are states, has allowed the northern industrialized countries not to comply with their climate obligations, while in unfair and neocolonial scenario, such responsibilities are transferred to the peoples and nations of the South, when it is precisely this side of the world that has the majority of nations and subnational regions or localities and, above all, indigenous peoples, peasants, and traditional fishermen and communities that are striving to protect the climate – although they are the most affected by climate change. The peoples’ initiatives are being neglected and, in many cases, criminalized, although their efforts to stop fossil hydrocarbons extraction should be awarded.
We can see that, in practical terms, besides the national states, there are other decisive stakeholders with capacity and interests in accelerating the transformations required to protect global climate that must be acknowledged by the Convention on Climate Change Convention, for example, the indigenous peoples and nations, provinces, states, or subnational regions or localities that have taken sound steps against hydrocarbons extraction from the ground. Therefore, Annex 0 Group must be created to include these peoples and territories because they are resolving the causes of the problem: the addiction to fossil fuels.
It is time to focus on the problem’s determining causes
It was mainly after World War II that the industrial bases of a capitalism addicted to fossil fuels and a culture based on an endless, extensive, expansive and destructive energetic and material consumption pattern was consolidated. Highly oil-consuming large-scale mining and industrial agriculture expanded as part of this model. This addiction to fossils is not only affecting the climate, but is causing degenerative and lethal diseases to millions of peoples, flooding the planet with non-degradable waste, and exterminating hundreds of traditional cultures – by displacing healthy and ecological uses and customs – and it continues generating economic, social, political, environmental crisis aimed to capital expansion and accumulation. An institutionalized and global capitalism with the most decadent and lethal features demands a global action to confront it.
Meanwhile the corporate and financial sectors decide how much, where and what type of oil is extracted, sold and at what price, and based on the incapacity of “traditional” oil deposits of supplying the exponential demand of concentrated sectors, the industry, and governments, lately they have advanced with the so-called “non conventional” extraction. With more expensive and degrading techniques, such as fracking, they seek to keep the dependency on fuel oils, strengthen the accumulation process, the appropriation and dispossession of territories, and violation of the rights of the peoples.
Leaving oil and other fossil fuels in the subsoil is the most direct and concrete way of achieving results related to climate, as well as to confront capitalism, the exploitation of human beings, and privatization of nature at the global level.
What metrics, scenarios, and models should we work with?
The member states of UNFCCC set the goal of adopting a new global agreement on climate change in Paris 2015. The rhetoric says that is aimed to keep the planet from exceeding the warming limit of 2°C in relation to preindustrial temperature. This limit allegedly sets the line between a changing climate to which we can adapt and a climate unbalance of unforeseeable and irreversible consequences.
To reach this figure, both UNFCC and the experts of the Inter-Government Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) have always used carbon dioxide concentrations as a standard measure stating emission reduction but not the amount of fossil fuels that should not be extracted. Talking about amounts of oil, gas, or carbon would enable visualizing the responsibilities and necessary actions to prevent a climate crisis.
According to official figures, to reach a maximum figure of 2°C in temperature (IPCC scenario RCP2.6) by 2100, at least 2/3 of the known oil, gas and carbon reserves should remain in the soil. Therefore, of the 1,700,000 million barrels that are still in the ground, 1,190,000 million should remain there; of the 187 trillion cubic meters of natural gas, 131 trillion should not be extracted; and of the 892,000 million tons of carbon, 624.000 should remain in place. The goal now is to decide where and how to start leaving them in the soil. By using these figures we are not attempting a merchandisable quantification or evil equivalences in the environmental services market or other ways of commercial compensation, but a way of determining the magnitude of the efforts needed for a post-oil civilization.
This means going from a centralized large-scale energy production model to models with cleaner, renewable, decentralized, diverse, sovereign, and ecological energies. To this end, there is a need of changing the concept of energy, which includes knowing what type, how much and who needs it, as well as a reflection on energies in the territories and for the peoples.
Protection, recognition, and incentives for the countries, nations, subnational spaces, localities, and territories of Annex 0
The initiatives qualified as part of Annex 0 must be protected and supported with a series of international incentives and recognitions based on solidarity, unattached technological exchange, and the existence of an ecological debt associated to climate. The creation of Annex 0 will also incentivize new commitments and specific efforts focused on confronting the decisive causes of climate change.
The indicators for these initiatives will be:
1. Fossil hydrocarbons maintained in the ground
2. Forms of life based on a respectful dialogue with the natures
3. Struggles against carbon and other mining due to their effect on the climate and for consuming elevated amounts of fossil fuels
4. Steady steps towards a debate on the type of energies required – for what, for whom, how much – and on the exercise of sovereignty of the peoples and territories
5. Repudiation to mechanisms such as carbon market, REDD+, and other false solutions to climate change
6. Clear commitments to non-extraction and emancipation from fossil fuels by the peoples.
Protection of the peoples and territories:
• Stop the criminalization of whoever promotes leaving oil, gas, or carbon in the ground, and active advocates of land and territories against fossil fuel extraction.• Stop the intervention of corporations, State repression systems, and invasion of territories for fossil hydrocarbons extraction in places where the local population rejects it, areas appointed as natural or highly fragile reserves.
Recognition through an international award:
• for whoever makes sound steps against hydrocarbons extraction in their lands and territories;
• for whoever keeps sovereign energy and food models that do not depend on fossil fuels and respect nature.
Incentives such as:
• technological exchange
• forms of contribution and direct support observing sovereignty, with good-faith dialogues and no transfer of responsibilities.
Counter-incentives such as:
• withdrawal of State subsidies to industry related to fossil fuels
• divest in shares, bonds, or investment funds linked to oil.
OILWATCH states that no country is really ready to support a catastrophic climate change. Additionally, the nations that suffer the worst consequences contribute less to global warming, and frequently take strong measures to stop it. We believe that the time has come for the United Nations to confront the climate crisis by creating Annex 0 in the Convention on Climate Change, as a group of the peoples or nations acknowledged for their contributions and as an incentive for others to join the mission of leaving fossil hydrocarbons in the ground. We’ve had enough talking about abstract things like CO2 emissions – let’s talk about oil, gas, or carbon, join the commitments of Annex 0, and make efforts in our organizations by supporting these initiatives and resistance initiatives and struggles.We require the United Nations, the national governments, and social organizations and movements to acknowledge, protect, and disseminate true commitments and efforts that contribute soundly to prevent climate disaster!
OILWATCH July 2015