There is not enough money in the world to pay for the damage the Marshall Islands would experience if global temperatures went above the 1.5 degree limit set down by the Paris Agreement eight years ago, Tina Stege, Climate Envoy for Marshall Island, said.

“This has to be the moment,” Stege said on the penultimate day of COP28, referring to the impetus for phasing out fossil fuel use.

“In order to make this real, it’s not just that we send the signal in the words and the texts but that we provide the means to deliver on those words. It needs to be a package.”

The Beyond Oil and Gas Alliance (BOGA) is made up of a series of countries, including Denmark, France, Ireland, the Marshall Islands, and states including Quebec in Canada and US states California and Washington State.

Members told journalists that there needs to be strong financial reform to support countries transitioning away from fossil fuels, including oil and gas.

Colombian environment minister Susana Muhamed said: “Whole economies and societies are dependent on oil and gas.”

At present, there is a danger that countries that are dependent on exporting oil and coal will end up with an economic crisis for which there is no multilateral support, she said, adding the oil industry will not just disappear because COP28 makes a decision.

Eamon Ryan, Minister of Transport, Ireland, said investment in fossil fuels needs to be cut and the money invested instead in the energy transition if the Paris goal of limiting the temperature rise to 1.5 degrees is to be achieved.

“It’s not switching off, it’s about switching on that cleaner alternative,” he said, adding: “We need to give the signal so the financial markets understand what is coming – it’s not pricing in the carbon. That needs to change.”

Financing has to help those who plan to leave fossil fuels in the ground, he added.

(Reporting by Imogen Lillywhite; editing by Seban Scaria)