Despite increased climate ambitions and net-zero commitments, the governments across the world still plan to produce more than double the amount of fossil fuel in 2030 than what would be consistent with limiting global warming to 1.5°C, said the 2021 Production Gap Report by leading research institutes and the UN Environment Programme (UNEP).
The governments have not explicitly recognised or planned for the rapid reduction in fossil fuel production for setting the net-zero emission targets and increase their climate ambitions under the Paris Agreement.
The Production Gap Report, first launched in 2019, measures the gap between governments’ planned production of coal, oil, and gas and the global production levels consistent with meeting the Paris Agreement temperature limits.
STEEP STEPS NEEDED
The authors of the report mention that global fossil fuel production must decline immediately and steeply to be consistent with limiting long-term warming to 1.5°C. On the other hand, they mention that governments are collectively projecting an increase in global oil and gas production. They are only registering a modest decrease in coal production over the next two decades. This leads to future production levels far above those consistent with limiting warming to 1.5°C or 2°C, the Report said.
The 2021 Production Gap Report states that governments’ production plans and projections in 2030 would lead to around 240 per cent more coal, 57 per cent more oil, and 71 per cent more gas than would be consistent with limiting global warming to 1.5°C. Noting that devastating impacts of climate change are here for all to see, UNEP Executive Director Inger Andersen said that there was still time to limit long-term warming to 1.5°C”A+ COP26 and beyond, the world’s governments must take rapid and immediate steps to close the fossil fuel production and ensure a just and equitable transition. This is what climate ambition looks like,” she said.
The 2021 Production Gap Report also provides country profiles for 15 major producer countries: Australia, Brazil. Canada, China, Germany, India, Indonesia, Mexico, Norway, Russia, Saudi Arabia, South Africa, the United Arab Emirates, the United Kingdom, and the United States.
Lead author and SEI scientist Ploy Achakulwisut stated that the research was clear that global coal, oil and gas production must start declining immediately and steeply to be consistent with limiting long-term warming to 1.5°C.
Senior Policy Advisor, International Institute for Sustainable Development (IISD) Lucile Dufour opined; “Early efforts from development finance institutions to cut international support for fossil fuel production are encouraging, but these changes need to be followed by concrete and ambitious fossil fuel exclusion policies to limit global warming to 1.5°C.”
Meanwhile SEI executive director Måns Nilsson stressed that fossil-fuel-producing nations must recognise their role and reality in closing the production gap and steering towards a safe climate future. “As countries commit to net-zero emissions by mid-century, they also need to recognize the rapid reduction in fossil fuel production that their climate targets will require,” said Måns Nilsson.
The Stockholm Environment Institute (SEI), International Institute for Sustainable Development (IISD), Overseas Development Institute (ODI), E3G, and UNEP contributed to the report. More than 40 researchers spanning numerous universities, think tanks and other research organizations also contributed to the study.