At the World Economy Forum in Davos, the Colombian government has unexpectedly announced its break with fossil fuels. The minister of mines, Irene Vélez, has stated that the Colombian state will put a halt on any further exploration of oil and gas. The transition from fossil fuels to more green energy generation was a central part of president Gustavo Petro's election campaign. Asked about this decision, Vélez has declared that it "has been very controversial" but that "This decision is absolutely urgent and needs immediate action." But the veracity of this plan is questionable when looking at the fractured congress, bleak economic outlook, and a history of u-turns in policies.
Criticism of the plan comes from a number of individuals and institutions. Colombia's finance minister always ensured to the international community that the country will remain open for new oil and gas projects. He has stated that the country, which relies on fossil fuels for half of its export revenue, needs the profit generated by the fossil industry. Economic analysts note that this decision will not affect the international demand and will only hurt the country in the long run. Criticism also comes from environmental experts who see the real trouble in cattle-ranching and unsustainable agriculture, the main cause of deforestation. Furthermore, they criticize that the key issues are not addressed and the new project will have no significant impact on the global climate.
President Petro has backed the plan, stating that alternative economies like tourism and green energy will make up for the loss in fossil fuel revenue.