Sandia Pueblo activist calls for total phase out of fossil fuels at COP28
As the global climate conference COP28 kicked off in Dubai today, Indigenous activists gave a press conference calling for the total phase out of fossil fuels. Julia Bernal of the Pueblo Action Alliance joined other delegates from North America with the Indigenous Environmental Network and the It Takes Roots alliance.
They spoke after a pre-conference meeting of the Indigenous Forum on Climate Change.
"We have traveled across the world yet again," said Bernal, "to urge leaders to phase out fossil fuels, and to not fund energy technologies like all the colors of hydrogen, like liquid natural gas pipelines, like carbon capture and sequestration."
She said that these technologies are being touted across the Southwest, a region feeling the impact of climate change acutely.
Governor Michelle Lujan Grisham, who is also attending COP28, is a strong supporter of the development of hydrogen energy as an alternative to fossil fuels. But environmentalists point out hydrogen production often still creates carbon emissions.
While the annual conference is the world's largest meeting to address the changing climate, many raise questions over the role of fossil fuel industries during the meeting. This year, the conference president is the head of the United Arab Emirates' main state oil company.
Bernal called for an end to what she called false solutions and said that if "business as usual" were allowed to continue, extraction would continue to affect Indigenous people and their lands.
"It will continue impacts to Indigenous peoples' rights, and our sacred ways and traditional ways of life," she said.
She added that a climate which keeps warming will continue to exacerbate wildfire and water scarcity in the Southwest.