Denmark, Costa Rica to launch no-fossil-fuel bloc

Denmark and Costa Rica jointly announced that they are launching an alliance of nations committed to setting a firm date to completely phase out use and production of fossil fuels. The two countries hope to present the initiative, tentatively dubbed the Beyond Oil & Gas Alliance (BOGA), at the upcoming UN climate summit in Glasgow, Scotland. Nearly 60 countries have made some sort of net zero emissions pledge, but only a handful of those have actually set a target in law or enacted bans on new fossil fuel exploration and production. An International Energy Agency report released earlier this year found that new fossil fuel exploration needs to halt by 2022 in order to keep warming within the limits set by the 2015 Paris Agreement. "We are in a paradoxical situation right now where many countries have pledged to become carbon neutral but are actually still planning to produce oil and gas after that date," Danish Minister of Climate & Energy Dan Jorgensen told Reuters.

To join BOGA, countries would have to set firm targets for ending current oil and gas production and banning new exploration. Countries could get into a "second-tier" level if they make steps such as limiting fossil fuel financing or reforming subsidies for fossil fuel companies.

Although Costa Rica is not a major producer fossil fuels itself, it has long been recognized for leading the way in phasing out production and setting aggressive decarbonization targets. Denmark—one of the largest oil producers in the EU—last year enacted a ban on fossil fuel exploration and extraction. (Gizmodo, Aug. 26)