What is BOGA?
BOGA is the first diplomatic initiative acknowledging the need for governments to manage the phase-out of fossil fuel production as a key tool to address the climate crisis. The diplomatic initiative aims to bring together countries and jurisdictions that have ended licensing for new oil and gas exploration and production and are setting an end date for their production.
“The Beyond Oil and Gas Alliance (BOGA) aims to build momentum around these first movers, turning individual supply-side measures into a diplomatic force and redefining what it means to be a climate leader.”
Why is BOGA important?
We care about limiting global heating to 1.5°C.
Guardian made this Nature article into an editorial“ and cited: “…97% of coal reserves in the US, Russia and former Soviet states must stay buried if the world is to stand a chance of limiting the increase in heating to 1.5C. The same goes for almost two-thirds of oil in the Middle East, while Arctic extraction must stop altogether.”
Countries are currently planning to produce 120% more fossil fuels by 2030 than is compatible with a 1.5°C trajectory. In order to keep to 1.5°C, we need a managed decline of fossil fuel production that takes into account a commitment in line with science and the need for wealthy, economically diversified countries to phase out oil and gas production more rapidly than others.
The recently published International Energy Agency “Net Zero by 2050” roadmap concludes that limiting warming to 1.5°C implies developing no new oil, gas or coal fields as of 2021.
Even OPEC members are seeing the writing on the wall, “The IEA has been warning for many years that countries that rely heavily on oil and gas revenues need to move quickly to diversify their economies away from fossil fuels to keep pace with the transition to clean energy. The impact of Covid on the oil market last year gave us a fleeting image of what the region’s economies could look like in the future in a world where demand for oil and gas is structurally weaker – and where countries do not take serious measures to diversify their economies and increase their resilience.” Delaying efforts to curb emissions now means future emission cuts will need to be more sudden, stringent and potentially disruptive.
Despite these growing calls to align the supply of fossil fuels with carbon budgets, international climate action remains primarily focused on reducing demand for fossil fuels. The Paris Agreement does not explicitly mention fossil fuels and only a few countries’ climate plans include explicit measures to restrict the production of fossil fuels.
A New Hope?
BOGA will be the first diplomatic initiative exclusively focused on tackling the production of oil and gas as a tool to address the climate crisis and as core to climate leadership. It brings together first-mover countries and subnational actors to create an international platform to give visibility to and create momentum for policy decisions to end the expansion of the fossil fuel industry and phase out existing production.
COP26 and BOGA
Which countries would be part of this initiative at COP26? We are looking at the COP26 Presidency, UK. The UK cannot claim to be a climate leader, while at the same time spearheading new oil field projects such as Cambo alongside the major polluter Shell. It is clearly at odds with real climate action to stay below 1.5°C, and way off what should be achieved at COP26. Keep it in the ground, keep us alive.
What does civil society expect from BOGA?
For BOGA to be a credible benchmark-setting initiative, it should adhere to the following principles:
- Commitment in line with science: the core entry ticket into this coalition must remain a complete and immediate ban on new licensing for oil and gas exploration and production, for all countries. However, the recent IEA report outlined the need to end all new oil and gas projects, including the ones covered by existing exploration licenses. Wealthy, economically diversified countries joining BOGA should be going beyond a ban on licensing: committing to stop all new development of oil and gas extraction projects, per the IEA’s recommendation, and to accelerate their phase out of existing production (see Equity and justice below).
- Integrity: No country should join or be accepted as an associate member unless it agrees with the vision of ending fossil fuel exploration and production in line with 1.5ºC and signals its intent to reconcile its national policies with that vision.
- Equity and justice: BOGA will need to recognize the need for wealthy, economically diversified countries to phase out oil and gas production more rapidly than others. It must also become a forum where support mechanisms are designed to help Global South producers plan a just transition away from fossil fuel extraction. Finally, BOGA must center the need for workers and communities impacted by the transition away from fossil fuels to be supported and share best practices in implementing a just transition.
See this excellent thread from Oil Change International on BOGA and civil society expectations with examples.