The world’s fossil fuel producers are planning expansions that will blow the planet’s carbon budget twice, according to a UN report. Experts have called these plans madness, which put the future of humanity in doubt.
The report says that the oil states’ energy plans are at odds with their climate policies and promises. The plans would result in 460% more coal being mined, 83% more gas and 29% more oil than could be burned if global temperature rise is kept to the internationally agreed limit of 1.5C. The plans would also produce 69% more fossil fuels than is compatible with the riskier 2C target.
Countries responsible for carbon emissions from scheduled fossil fuel production are India (coal), Saudi Arabia (oil) and Russia (coal, oil and gas). The US and Canada are also slated to be major oil producers, as is the United Arab Emirates. The most important UN climate summit Cop28 is taking place in the UAE, which starts on November 30.
The report clearly presents the fundamental conflict driving the climate crisis. fossil fuel burning must be brought to zero quickly, but oil nations and companies intend to continue making trillions of dollars a year by increasing production.
Dependence on fossil fuels still has its claws in many nations, says Inger Andersen, executive director of the United Nations Environment Programme. These programs question the future of humanity. Governments should stop saying one thing and doing another.
Neil Grant, analyst at Climate Analytics think tank and author of the report, says: Despite their climate pledges, governments plan to pour more money into dirty, dying industries, while opportunities abound in the booming clean energy sector. In addition to economic insanity, it is a climate disaster of our own making.
The report featured 20 fossil fuel-producing countries, which were the combined source of 84% of CO.2: emissions in 2021. Of these, 17 pledged to achieve net zero emissions, said Michael Lazarus at the Stockholm Environment Institute (SEI), lead author of the report.
[The problem is] each country’s desire to maximize its own production, he said. There must be an internationally coordinated and equitable global phase-out of fossil fuels, Lazarus said.
A long line of scientific studies has concluded that any new oil and gas fields are incompatible with keeping global warming below the 1.5C limit agreed in Paris, including the International Energy Agency’s 2021 target. The Guardian revealed in 2022 that the world’s biggest fossil fuel companies were planning multiple carbon bomb oil and gas projects.
A new report analyzed the expansion plans of major fossil fuel producers based on publicly available data. It found that the gap between projected output and the amount to meet 1.5C of global warming is as wide as it was when the analysis was first done in 2019. In 2030, the gap is estimated at 20 billion tons of CO2:about half of today’s annual global emissions.
After Saudi Arabia, the US, Brazil and Canada have the next major oil expansion plans, with Cop28 host the UAE seventh on the list. Qatar has the largest gas expansion plans, and Nigeria the third, after Russia. India’s coal expansion plans are huge. three times that of second-placed Russia, followed by Indonesia in third and Australia in fifth.
In total, only four countries have plans to reduce their total fossil fuel emissions: the UK, China, Norway and Germany.
Relying on uncertain future technology to capture CO, the report says2: and putting it underground was risky; countries should aim to phase out coal production and use almost entirely by 2040, and reduce total oil and gas production and use by at least three-quarters by 2050.
The planned expansions could cost fossil fuel producers many billions of dollars if the world does not act to reduce CO2.2: emissions and halt the climate crisis, said Ploy Achakulvisut, another lead author of the SEI report. Many of these investments are at risk of becoming stranded assets as the world decarbonizes.
Romain Iualalen at the research group Oil Change International said: Our latest analysis shows that by 2050, the majority (51%) of new oil and gas production will be responsible for just five of the world’s rich northern countries: the US, Canada, Australia, Norway and the UK; These countries have a moral and historical responsibility to be the first and fastest to phase out fossil fuel production.
Fossil fuels are the main cause of the climate crisis, but for the first time they are mentioned in the final text of the UN summit in 2021. It was the 26th annual UN climate meeting where only the coal reduction phase was required.
Starting with Cop28, nations must unite behind a managed and equitable phase-out of coal, oil and gas to ease the mess ahead and benefit every person on this planet, Andersen said. Powering economies with clean energy is the only way to end energy poverty while reducing emissions.
UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres said. Governments are literally doubling down on fossil fuel production, which is a double whammy for people and the planet. Fossil fuels are smoking major climate targets.
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