A group of more than 80 world-leading economists from 20 countries have issued a declaration in which they demand that “not a penny more” be spent on fossil fuel production and infrastructure while encouraging an increase in renewable energy investments in the lead-up to French President Emmanuel Macron’s international summit on climate finance.
“We the undersigned, call for an immediate end to investments in new fossil fuel production and infrastructure, and encourage a dramatic increase in investments in renewable energy,” wrote 81 economists from all over the world, writing in the lead up to the One Planet Summit set to be held on December 12, a two years to the day after the signing of the historic Paris Climate Agreement, and which will be presided over by French President Emmanuel Macron. The Summit will aim to determine how public and private financiers can innovate to support and accelerate the effort to fight climate change.
But more than simply innovating, investors, financiers, and governments the world over will need to learn to stop funding fossil fuel production and infrastructure first, if we are to truly see a change in climate financing.
“It is time for European leaders, especially President Macron, who understands the threat posed to our planet by Donald Trump’s climate change denial, to help smash our economies’ reliance on fossil fuel subsidies and investment,” said Yanis Varoufakis Greek economist, Academic and Politician, and one of the undersigned. “Not one more penny or cent can go to coal, oil or gas subsidies.”
“It is time for the community of global economic actors to step up its efforts to save our planet and preserve our common future,” added Pierre-Richard Agénor, Professor of International Macroeconomics and Development Economics, University of Manchester, another of the declaration’s undersigned. “Our declaration affirms that it is the urgent responsibility and moral obligation of public and private investors, as well as development institutions, to lead in putting an end to the use of fossil fuels and embrace safe and renewable energies.”
“Ongoing global climate change and environmental destructions are happening at an unprecedented scale, and it will take unprecedented actions to limit the worst consequences of our dependence on oil, coal, and gas,” write the undersigned of the declaration.
“Equally as critical as drastically curbing the carbon intensity of our economic systems is the need for immediate and ambitious actions to stop exploration and expansion of fossil fuel projects and manage the decline of existing production in line with what is necessary to achieve the Paris climate goals.”
The need for reducing fossil fuel production should come as no surprise, especially considering that repeated research has shown that the carbon emissions residing within existing fossil fuel production and reserves will already take us well beyond safe climate limits. As such, the economists are not just seeking a curb on future exploration and development but a restriction of existing business-as-usual policies in an effort to keep warming to well below 2ºC, and as close to 1.5ºC as possible.
“Along with policy changes such as the elimination of fossil fuel subsidies, a massive increase in financing for renewable energy solutions is needed if we are going to see a rapid decline in carbon emissions by 2025,” added Neva Rockefeller Goodwin Co-Director, Global Development And Environment Institute, Tufts University.