The victory of the remaining-wing candidate in Sunday’s election could make Colombia the most significant fossil gasoline producer to ban new output

Colombia has elected its initial still left-wing president, placing the Latin American nation on a path to wind down its fossil gasoline generation. 

Leftist Gustavo Petro was voted in Sunday evening together with Goldman prize-successful environmental campaigner Francia Marquez, the nation’s initial black and second woman vice-president.

In his manifesto, Petro committed to “undertake a gradual de-escalation of economic dependence on oil and coal”. He dedicated not to grant any new licenses for hydrocarbon exploration through his 4-year mandate and to halt all pilot fracking projects and the advancement of offshore fossil fuels.

“These are not newborn techniques but large steps towards the changeover and decreasing fossil fuels,” stated Colombian environmentalist Martin Ramirez.

If Petro formalises his commitments to phasedown fossil fuel output, Colombia could become the largest fossil gasoline producer to do so.

At the Cop26 climate talks in Glasgow last yr, Costa Rica and Denmark introduced an alliance of nations fully commited to phasing out oil and fuel generation recognised as the Beyond Oil and Gasoline Alliance , collectively accounting for .2% of global oil creation. Colombia generates about 1% of the world’s coal, oil and gasoline.

Joining the alliance would need Colombia to convert its motivation to instantly end fossil gas enlargement into legislation and set an end-day for all production.

“Some of the most highly effective examples of leadership when it arrives to trying to keep fossil fuels in the floor are no extended coming from some of the European nations that developed [the alliance],” Romain Ioualalen, a campaigner at Oil Modify Global, explained to Local weather Household. “It’s coming from a middle income place in Latin The us,” he reported.

Previous 12 months, the International Electricity Agency warned that new investments in fossil fuel output are incompatible with limiting world warming to 1.5C.

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In his manifesto, Petro pledged to make condition oil organization Ecopetrol, which generates oil throughout the Americas, play “a main function in the transition”. He fully commited to set up a Countrywide Institute for Clean Energies and encourage the roll out of electric cars.

He included he would request to produce and promote carbon credits for greenhouse gas emissions prevented by leaving fossil fuels in the ground and for guarding the Amazon rainforest.

But, Ramirez explained, Petro will experience challenges guaranteeing his manifesto is not just “a letter for Santa Claus” and is essentially sent.

Colombia’s structure indicates no president can stand for a 2nd time period so Petro only has four years to produce. A the greater part of lawmakers in parliament opposes him and the Supreme Court docket can problem his reforms.

Oil and coal exports are Colombia’s greatest source of overseas forex and there are fears the price of the peso could fall when the market opens on Tuesday, piling political tension onto the governing administration to preserve fossil gas exports.

And coal-reliant locations won’t be so easily certain of the plan. In regions this sort of as La Guajira and Cesar, coal mining signifies about a 3rd of the gross domestic merchandise and provides numerous work.

“This is not only heading to be an energy transition, it is likely to be a labour changeover and a wellness transition,” mentioned Ramirez, incorporating that there are psychological wellbeing implications for miners loosing their careers.

On renewable vitality, Petro ideas to prioritise the coal hub of La Guajira, a desert location on the northernmost tip of South The us, for solar vitality jobs. This will incorporate “mixed ownership” arrangements with the indigenous Wayuu communities, coal mining employees and community councils.

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Campaigners hope the new authorities will conclude Colombia’s standing as the world’s most hazardous position for environmental campaigners.

Vice-president Francia Marquez is herself a veteran environmental and racial justice campaigner who was attacked with guns and grenades in 2019.

“She will press and heart endeavours on the protection of environmental defenders and I hope this contributes in altering the dreadful file of Colombia,” stated Maria Alejandra, Natural environment and Society Association local climate justice co-ordinator.

Worldwide Witness’s breakdown of where by environmental defenders were being killed in 2020 (Photo: World-wide Witness)

Milena Bernal, a Colombian environmental lawyer, claimed the election outcome was a “great victory” for those struggling the most from racism and exclusion in Colombia.

Fossil gas generation and other environmentally damaging actions take position disproportionately in black and indigenous communities, she said.

Ramirez claimed Marquez, who arrives from a performing-class rural track record and utilised to be a housekeeper, faced a large amount of sexism and racism during her marketing campaign. “Many individuals were being declaring ‘we do not want a maid to be vice-president’,” he included.

Joe Lo

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