SEPT. 1, 2023 — In light of a recently released UN letter alluding to human rights violations by oil giant Saudi Aramco, Citizens’ Climate International is calling on all fossil fuel companies to immediately develop future business strategies that reduce rather than increase the manufacture of climate-altering fuels. (Shell and BP have also reined back on investment in renewables over the past year).

“With the window to preserve a stable climate rapidly closing, and new research projecting climate disruption will kill more than 1 billion people by the end of the century, it is unconscionable that many oil and gas firms plan to ramp up the extraction and production of fossil fuels,” said CCI Executive Director Joe Robertson. “A liveable future is a human right, and companies should not violate that right by choosing profit over people.”

In the letter sent to Saudi Aramco CEO Amin Nasser on June 26, five UN experts said, “Rather than aligning its business strategy with the Paris [Climate] Agreement goals, and cutting fossil fuel production and its emissions at the rapid rate necessary to meet the 1.5°C climate mitigation goal, Saudi Aramco’s business strategy is currently increasing its fossil fuel production… This approach disregards Saudi Aramco’s own responsibility to reduce production to address its climate change-related human rights impacts.”

The letter also holds accountable a number of financial institutions that are funding Saudi Aramco’s oil and gas expansion, among them JP Morgan, Citi, Morgan Stanley and Goldman Sachs. The letter requested information on 10 points brought up in a complaint filed by Client Earth, but Saudi Aramco has not yet responded.

In June, UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres said that to limit global warming to 1.5°C, countries must progressively phase out fossil fuels, “moving to leave oil, coal and gas in the ground where they belong.” 

“Phasing out fossil fuels can’t happen unless companies get in line with reality and stop extracting oil and gas,” said Robertson. “They can make money by investing in non-polluting energy and other sustainable business activities. It’s time for them to be part of the solution instead of part of the problem.”