Colombia Presidential Front-Runner Would End New Oil Exploration
(Bloomberg) -- Colombian front-runner Gustavo Petro said his first decision as president would be to stop awarding oil exploration contracts, according to an interview with El Tiempo.
Petro, a left-wing candidate in next year’s presidential race, said he’d move Colombia away from an “extractivist” economy based on fossil fuels, allowing the country to attract investors who understand the importance of focusing on climate change as a national security matter.
Petro, 61, made the same pledge during his last run for the presidency in 2018.
Colombia needs to leave 80% of its carbon reserves untouched if it wants to fulfill the global pledge to keep warming below 1.5 degrees Celsius, Petro said. He also said he’d raise taxes on some agricultural imports to “defend” the national economy and to generate millions of jobs.
“If there’s no one who’ll buy Colombian carbon or oil, we need to react quick,” Petro said. Oil company Ecopetrol SA “can convert toward solar and wind energy,” he said.
President Ivan Duque’s Democratic Center party will announce on Monday the result of a ballot to choose its candidate for the May 2022 presidential vote.
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