The Lofoten Declaration & The Global Gas and Oil Network
The Lofoten Declaration is a call to governments and businesses to phase out fossil fuel production. Research shows that the carbon embedded in existing fossil fuel production will take us far beyond safe climate limits. Thus, the declaration affirms that it is the urgent responsibility and moral obligation of wealthy fossil fuel producers to lead in putting an end to fossil fuel development and to manage the decline of existing production. The declaration is also a call to prioritize support for communities on the front lines of climate change and fossil fuel extraction.
Our goal is to ensure world leaders recognise the importance of phasing out fossil fuels and to hear the demand for this bold leadership around the world. The declaration was relevant in 2017 and it is only becoming more critical to place on the agendas of governments and businesses.
Over the next 5 years, from 2020 to 2024, oil and gas companies are set to develop new oil and gas projects containing nearly 117 billion barrels of oil and more than 700 billion cubic feet of gas. These new investments would unlock more than 90 gigatonnes (Gt) of CO2 pollution from currently undeveloped reserves. That is like building 480 new 1,000-Megawatt (MW) coal-fired power plants. (Based on 2019 global average annual CO2 of 4.7 million tonnes (Mt) CO2 per 1,000 MW and assuming a 40-year plant lifetime.)
Ceasing the approval of new projects would put production on a necessary trajectory downward to 2030. By stopping industry expansion, combined production of oil and gas would fall by 13% in five years and by over 30% by 2030. This is necessary for limiting climate impacts and protecting ecosystems where the extraction happens.
Further, oil and gas companies are set to sink USD 1.4 trillion in capital on new oil and gas exploration and development in the next five years. Over ten years, total wasted capital would approach USD 4 trillion. This money could be returned to investors who could put it towards climate solutions instead.
Who Wrote the Declaration?
The Lofoten Declaration was written in August 2017 at a gathering in the Lofoten Islands in Norway of academics, analysts, and activists, all of whom recognize that we have a window of opportunity to limit the expansion of the oil and gas industry globally, in order to achieve the Paris climate goals. We invite other organisations worldwide to join the call.
Why Is It Called the Lofoten Declaration?
The oil industry fought for decades to allow the seas around Lofoten to be opened to oil drilling, which would have been devastating to the climate, the local community, and to Lofoten’s natural beauty. Since the declaration was first written, activists have successfully managed to block these plans and safeguard the natural landscape. The declaration is named to honour this campaign, and inspire similar stories of hope from around the world.
Why Should I Sign the Declaration?
Not enough people are aware of the scale of the threat to our economies, portfolios, and ways of life that the oil and gas expansion plans present. Governments, oil and gas companies, investors and others in the supply chain are only just waking up to the issue. We hope to get more people aware of the opportunity society that has to stop it.
By signing the declaration, organisations can help to amplify the message and urge key decision makers of the imperative to protect local communities against the threat of fossil fuel expansion and respond to the climate emergency before it is too late. Of course there is more we can do and we are happy to hear from any group wanting to do more than sign on.
Who Should Sign the Declaration?
Taking the necessary steps to respond to the climate emergency will benefit everyone, everywhere. That’s why we want all kinds of groups and organisations to sign the declaration.
Businesses and investors
For businesses and investors with customers concerned about these issues, signing the declaration can help give those customers confidence that it is an issue you’re trying to address.
Civil Society Organisations
For civil society organisations, signing the declaration helps to show that the fight against climate change is closely connected to other efforts, such as around human rights. This was a point Mwikali Muthiani, Chair of the International Board of Amnesty International, made when announcing their decision to divest from fossil fuels:
“Fossil fuel companies know that their business model is resulting in human suffering because of its lethal contribution to climate change . . . we want to send a clear message that continued investment in coal, oil and natural gas companies is at odds with human rights, because of the direct link between their activities and climate disaster.
“Climate change has grave implications for human rights, threatening our rights to health, water, food, housing, and life among other civil and political rights. These risks are even graver for communities living in poverty or whose rights are already threatened or poorly protected by their governments.
“We need to remember who is responsible and accountable for the crisis humanity is facing. The primary reason we are in this mess is because governments and corporations are refusing to take the necessary steps to move away from dangerous fossil fuels and invest in developing clean technologies.”
For religious organisations, the declaration is in keeping with the teaching of many different faiths. As an example, Pope Francis in the Laudato Si wrote; “There is an urgent need to develop policies so that, in the next few years, the emission of carbon dioxide and other highly polluting gases can be drastically reduced, for example, substituting for fossil fuels and developing sources of renewable energy.”
And as the Bahu Trust, Islamic Foundation for Environmental & Ecological Sciences (IFEES), and the Mosques & Imams National Advisory Board (MINAB) wrote together; “Profiting from fossil fuel production in its current form is financially unnecessary, morally wrong and goes against the spirit of the Quranic teachings of good environmental stewardship.”
ACTION: Join the hundreds of organizations that have added their names to the declaration here: The Lofoten Declaration.