The goals for limiting climate change are clear, and the plans have looked good for years, but rarely anything is achieved. This is demonstrated once again by the latest UN report, the Production Gap Report 2023. It shows that by 2030, governments want to produce 110% more fossil fuels than needed to limit temperature rise to 1.5 degrees Celsius, and 69% more than necessary To limit the temperature rise to two degrees Celsius.
This comes despite 151 national governments pledging to achieve net-zero emissions and despite the latest forecasts that global demand for coal, oil and gas will peak this decade, even without new policies. Taken together, the government’s plans will increase global coal production until 2030 and global oil and gas production until at least 2050.
The main findings of the report are:
- Given the risks and uncertainties related to carbon capture, storage and carbon dioxide disposal, countries should aim for an almost complete phase-out of coal production and use by 2040, and a combined reduction in oil and gas production and use by at least a percent. Three quarters by 2050 compared to 2020 levels.
- While 17 out of 20 countries have committed to achieving net zero emissions – and many countries have launched initiatives to reduce emissions from fossil fuel production – none have committed to reducing coal, oil and gas production in line with limiting temperature rise to 1.5°C.
- Governments with greater opportunities to transition away from fossil fuels should seek to make more ambitious cuts and help support transitions in resource-constrained countries.
UN Secretary-General António Guterres said: “Governments are effectively doubling fossil fuel production; this means double the problem for people and the planet.” “We cannot address climate catastrophe without addressing the root cause: dependence on fossil fuels. COP28 must send a clear message that the era of fossil fuels is over – and that its end is inevitable. We need credible commitments to promote renewable energy sources, Phasing out fossil fuels and enhancing energy efficiency, while ensuring a just and equitable transition.
July 2023 was the warmest month on record, and perhaps the warmest in the past 120,000 years, according to scientists. Deadly heatwaves, droughts, wildfires, storms and floods are costing lives and livelihoods around the world. Global carbon dioxide emissions – nearly 90% of which come from fossil fuels – rose to record levels in 2021-2022.
“Governments are literally doubling fossil fuel production; that means double trouble for people and the planet.” sUnited Nations Secretary-General António Guterres
“Governments’ plans to expand fossil fuel production undermine the energy transition needed to achieve net-zero emissions, putting humanity’s future in doubt,” said Inger Andersen, Executive Director of UNEP. “Providing economies with clean, efficient energy is the only way to end energy poverty while reducing emissions.”
“Starting at the UN Climate Change Conference (COP28), countries must unite behind the controlled and equitable phase-out of coal, oil and gas – to mitigate the coming disruptions and benefit everyone on the planet,” she added.
The 2023 Production Gap Report provides new, comprehensive country profiles for 20 major fossil fuel producing countries: Australia, Brazil, Canada, China, Colombia, Germany, India, Indonesia, Kazakhstan, Kuwait, Mexico, Nigeria, Norway, Qatar, Russian Federation, Kingdom Saudi Arabia, South Africa, the United Arab Emirates, the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland and the United States of America. These features show that most of these governments continue to provide significant political and financial support for fossil fuel production.
“We see many governments promoting fossil gas as an essential ‘transition fuel’, but with no clear plans to phase it out later,” said Ploy Achakolisut, lead author of the report and a scientist at SEI. “But the science says we need to start reducing global production and use of coal, oil and gas now – alongside expanding clean energy, reducing methane emissions from all sources and other climate action – to meet the 1.5°C target.”
Although fossil fuels are the root cause of the climate crisis, they have been largely absent from international climate negotiations until recently. At the UN Climate Change Conference (COP26) in late 2021, governments pledged to accelerate efforts to “relentlessly phase out coal-fired power plants and phase out inefficient fossil fuel subsidies,” although they did not agree to address the production of Entirely fossil fuel.
“COP28 could be a pivotal moment when governments finally commit to phasing out all fossil fuels and recognize the role producers must play in facilitating a managed and just transition,” said Michael Lazarus, lead author of the report and director of the SEI Institute. United States Center. “Governments with the greatest capabilities to transition away from fossil fuel production have the greatest responsibility to do so while providing the financial resources and support to help other countries do the same.”
More than 80 researchers from more than 30 countries, from numerous universities, think tanks and other research organizations, contributed to the analysis and evaluation.
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