November 15, 2021

Ireland joins new alliance to put an end to oil and gas production

Oil and Gas Exploration

In a major move at the COP26 climate summit, an alliance of countries have confirmed a planned phase-out of the production of oil and gas. The group intends to support an international agreement on delivering an end date for the exploration and extraction of fossil fuels.

The announcement of the Beyond Oil and Gas Alliance (BOGA), which Ireland confirmed they would join, is the first global climate process that previously focused on reducing emissions from fossil fuels rather than eliminating them. The Paris Agreement of 2015 failed to mention fossil fuels, which produced over 90% of human-based carbon emissions last year.

The alliance intends to eliminate new licensing and introduce measures to stop oil and gas production following the Paris agreement. Ireland joined Costa Rica, Denmark, France, Greenland, Quebec, Sweden, Wales, California and New Zealand in announcing the plans.

Climate Minister Eamon Ryan, explains that Ireland is leading the way in terms of incentivising the shift to renewables and supporting the path towards net-zero by enforcing legislation to stop the production of fossil fuels. Ryan highlights that the recent announcement shows we are radically moving away from fossil fuels towards a renewable energy future in Ireland and worldwide.

The Climate Act 2021 means Ireland is closing its door on granting new exploration activities for the oil and gas industry. There is now no legal basis to enable new licenses for oil and gas activities in Ireland. Mr Ryan highlights that they are also legislating to prevent the extraction of coal, lignite and oil shale.

Founding members are committing to ending new concessions, licenses or leasing rounds and avoiding the concept of a managed phase-out of fossil fuel activities. Ryan explained that preventing oil and gas exploration directly addresses the climate issue and how protecting biodiversity is connected to climate change. 

There are multiple other impacts related to the oil and gas industry. Other studies clearly show that seismic activity, a resultant of drilling and oil exploration, has a major environmental impact. 

Denmark and Costa Rica are leading the new initiative with Dan Jorgensen, the minister for climate and energy in Denmark admitting that it was an expensive decision as his country is the largest producer of oil in the EU but stressed it was a necessary move. Jorgensen stated that there is no future for oil and gas in a 1.5-degree world.

Andrea Meza, the environmental minister of Costa Rica, said the alliance showed courage supported by significant actions. The new initiative represents the first time governments are committed to putting an end to oil and gas production.

Jerry MacEvilly, of Friends of the Earth Ireland said Ireland’s involvement was very positive and shows they are taking critical steps in phasing out fossil fuels. MacEvilly explained that the fossil fuel era needs to be brought to an end, and this involves leaving fossil fuels in the ground. The alliance is an opportunity for Ireland to prove its leadership and eliminate expanding oil and gas domestically and overseas.