Top fossil fuel producers still plan to extract more than double the amount of fossil fuels in 2030 than would be consistent with limiting global warming to 1.5°C, putting a well-managed and equitable energy transition at risk. This is the main finding of the 2023 Production Gap Report — a collaborative effort by several research and academic institutions.
The report is titled, “Phasing Down or Phasing Up? Top Fossil Fuel Producers Plan Even More Extraction Despite Climate Promises.” It finds that in aggregate, government plans and projections would result in an increase in global coal production until 2030 and a rise in global oil and gas production “until at least 2050.”
This, it underscores, is in conflict with countries’ commitments under the Paris Agreement on climate change, and contrasts with “expectations that global demand for coal, oil, and gas will peak within this decade even without new policies.”
The report notes that even though major producer countries have pledged to achieve net-zero emissions and launched initiatives towards that end, “none have committed to reduce coal, oil, and gas production in line with limiting warming to 1.5°C.”
It calls on governments to:
- Increase transparency in their plans, projections, and support for fossil fuel production and on the alignment of such plans with national and global climate goals;
- Adopt near- and long-term reduction targets in fossil fuel production and use, to complement other climate mitigation targets and reduce the risks of stranded assets; and
- Aim for a near total phase-out of coal production and use by 2040 and a combined reduction in oil and gas production and use by three-quarters by 2050 from 2020 levels, with failure of these measures threatening to necessitate an even more rapid global phase-out of all fossil fuels.
At the same time, the report recognizes that “[a]n equitable transition away from fossil fuel production must recognize countries’ differentiated responsibilities and capabilities.” It urges governments with more transition capacity to aim for more ambitious reductions and help finance the transition in countries where capacities are limited.
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The report features individual country profiles for 20 major producers of fossil fuels — Australia, Brazil, Canada, China, Colombia, Germany, India, Indonesia, Kazakhstan, Kuwait, Mexico, Nigeria, Norway, Qatar, the Russian Federation, Saudi Arabia, South Africa, the United Arab Emirates (UAE), the US, and the UK.
First published in 2019, the report “tracks the misalignment between governments’ planned fossil fuel production and global production levels consistent with limiting global warming to 1.5°C or 2°C.”
The Stockholm Environment Institute (SEI), Climate Analytics, E3G, the International Institute for Sustainable Development (IISD), and the UN Environment Programme (UNEP) partner on this externally peer-reviewed publication.
The 2023 report was launched on 8 November, ahead of the UN Climate Change Conference (UNFCCC COP28) in Dubai, UAE. The report complements the other two “gap reports” that address the mitigation and adaptation gaps.
This article was originally published by the International Institute for Sustainable Development (IISD) and is republished here as part of an editorial collaboration with the IISD.
Editor’s Note: The opinions expressed here by the authors are their own, not those of Impakter.com — Featured Photo Credit: Zbynek Burival.