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Bonn, Germany 15 November, 2017:  High level officials from Pacific Islands have called for a reining in of fossil fuel production in order to stay within the climate limits agreed to in Paris. They were joined in their call by civil society, indigenous, and academic voices.

Potential carbon emissions from the oil, gas, and coal present in the world’s currently operating fields and mines would take us beyond 1.5 or 2 degrees Celsius of warming. For the world to stay within the Paris climate limits, new fossil fuel production must be halted.

This requires stopping exploration for, and expansion of, new reserves and a managed decline and just transition away from fossil fuel production starting with wealthy coal producing countries like Australia and other states that have the means to act first and fastest.

These calls echo the Lofoten Declaration, which affirms that it is the urgent responsibility and moral obligation of wealthy fossil fuel producers to lead in these efforts. The Lofoten Declaration has been signed by 500 organizations globally and was signed today by François Martel, the Secretary General of the Pacific Islands Development Forum (PIDF).

“I have the mandate from the Pacific Leaders to continue to fight for this ambitious and urgent work to reduce emissions globally. I am very pleased to declare that the Pacific Islands Development Forum will be signing the Lofoten Declaration today and to join 500 like-minded organisations who believe in the urgency of this effort,” said Secretary General Martel.

The PIDF Secretary General said that they stand in solidarity with, and offer full support for, the growing wave of impacted communities around the world who are taking action to defend and protect their lives and livelihoods in the face of fossil fuel extraction and climate change as a priority to elevate these efforts.

“Fossil fuels will destroy our home. Two Degrees will destroy our home,” said former President of Kiribati Anote Tong who also signed the Lofoten Declaration today at a Press conference in the Bula Zone at the on-going COP23.

Ambassador Colin Beck from Solomon Islands said that there are some things best left underground and fossil fuels is one of them.

“There should be no new expansion of fossil fuels as this threatens our efforts to put the world onto a pathway to limit warming below 1.5C, through our endeavours at the UNFCCC to heal the health of the planet,” he said in a statement of support for the Lofoten Declaration.

Global climate change is a crisis of unprecedented scale, and it will take unprecedented action to avoid the worst consequences of our dependence on oil, coal, and gas. Equally as critical as reducing demand and emissions is the need for immediate and ambitious action 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.

Research shows that the carbon embedded in existing fossil fuel production will take us far beyond safe climate limits.

Thus, not only are new exploration and new production incompatible with limiting global warming to well below 2ºC (and as close to 1.5ºC as possible), but many existing projects will need to be phased-out faster than their natural decline.

The Lofoten Declaration was written in August 2017 at a gathering in the Lofoten Islands of Norway of academics, analysts, and activists, all of whom recognize that globally we have a window of opportunity to limit the expansion of the oil and gas industry, in order to achieve the Paris climate goals.