Governments’ fossil fuel production plans are dangerously out of step with Paris limits – World


20 October 2021 – The 2021 output gap report, written by leading research institutes and the United Nations Environment Program (UNEP), finds that despite increased climate ambitions and net zero commitments, governments are still planning to produce more than double the amount of fossil fuels in 2030 compared to what would be consistent with limiting global warming to 1.5 ° C.

The report, first launched in 2019, measures the gap between governments’ projected production of coal, oil and gas and global production levels consistent with meeting Paris Agreement temperature limits . Two years later, the 2021 report finds that the output gap is largely unchanged.

Over the next two decades, governments collectively forecast an increase in global oil and gas production, and only a modest decrease in coal production. Taken together, their plans and projections forecast an increase in total global fossil fuel production until at least 2040, creating a growing output gap.

“The devastating effects of climate change are visible to everyone. There is still time to limit long-term warming to 1.5 ° C, but that window of opportunity is closing quickly, ”said Inger Andersen, Executive Director of UNEP. “At COP26 and beyond, governments around the world must step in by taking swift and immediate action to close the fossil fuel production gap and ensure a just and equitable transition. This is what the climate ambition looks like.

The 2021 Production Gap Report provides country profiles for 15 top producing countries: Australia, Brazil, Canada, China, Germany, India, Indonesia, Mexico, Norway, Russia, Saudi Arabia, South Africa, United Arab Emirates, United Kingdom and the United States. Country profiles show that most of these governments continue to provide significant political support for fossil fuel production.

“The research is clear: Global production of coal, oil and gas must begin to decline immediately and sharply to be compatible with limiting long-term warming to 1.5 ° C,” says Ploy Achakulwisut, lead author of the UTE report and scientist. “However, governments continue to plan for and support levels of fossil fuel production that far exceed what we can safely burn.”

The main conclusions of the report are as follows:

  • Governments around the world plan to produce about 110% more fossil fuels in 2030 than would be compatible with limiting warming to 1.5 ° C, and 45% more than what would be compatible with 2 ° C. The size of the output gap has remained largely unchanged from our previous assessments.
  • Government production plans and projections would lead to around 240% more coal, 57% more oil and 71% more gas in 2030 than what would be compatible with limiting global warming to 1.5 ° C. .
  • Global gas production is expected to increase the most between 2020 and 2040 based on government plans. This continued and long-term global expansion of gas production is inconsistent with the temperature limits of the Paris Agreement.
  • Countries have spent more than $ 300 billion in new funds on fossil fuel-related activities since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic – more than they have on clean energy.
  • In contrast, international public funding for fossil fuel production from G20 countries and major multilateral development banks (MDBs) has declined considerably in recent years; One-third of G20 MDBs and development finance institutions (DFIs) by asset size have adopted policies that exclude fossil fuel production activities from future finance.
  • Verifiable and comparable information on fossil fuel production and support – both from governments and businesses – is essential to closing the production gap.

“The early efforts of development finance institutions to reduce international support for fossil fuel production are encouraging, but these changes must be followed by concrete and ambitious fossil fuel exclusion policies to limit global warming to 1.5. ° C, ”says Lucile Dufour, Senior Policy Advisor. , International Institute for Sustainable Development (IISD).

“Fossil fuel producing countries must recognize their role and responsibility in closing the production gap and steer us towards a climate secure future,” said MÃ¥ns Nilsson, Executive Director of SEI. “As countries increasingly commit to net zero emissions by mid-century, they must also recognize the rapid reduction in fossil fuel production that their climate goals will require. “

The report is produced by the Stockholm Environment Institute (SEI), the International Institute for Sustainable Development (IISD), the Overseas Development Institute (ODI), E3G and UNEP. Over 40 researchers contributed to the analysis and review, spanning many universities, think tanks, and other research organizations.


Reactions to the 2020 production gap report

“The recent announcements by the world’s largest economies to end international coal financing are an essential step in phasing out fossil fuels. But, as this report clearly shows, there is still a long way to go towards a clean energy future. There is an urgent need for all remaining public and private financiers, including commercial banks and asset managers, to shift their financing from coal to renewables in order to promote the full decarbonization of the power sector and access to electricity. renewable energy for all.
– Antonio Guterres, UN Secretary General

“This report shows, once again, a simple but powerful truth: We must stop pumping oil and gas from the ground if we are to meet the goals of the Paris Agreement. We need to cut with both hands of the scissors, simultaneously meeting the demand for and supply of fossil fuels. That is why, together with Denmark, we are leading the creation of the Beyond Oil and Gas Alliance to end the expansion of fossil fuel extraction, plan for a just transition for workers and start cutting back on existing production. in a managed manner.
– Andrea Meza, Minister of Environment and Energy of Costa Rica

“The 2021 Production Gap Report demonstrates once again unequivocally that we need meaningful reductions in fossil fuel production if we are to meet the goals of the Paris Agreement. In response, Denmark made the decision to cancel all future licensing rounds for oil and gas and completely phase out our production by 2050. With Costa Rica, we encourage all governments to take similar action and join the Beyond Oil and Gas Alliance to promote a managed and simply abandon the production of fossil fuels.
– Dan Jørgensen, Minister of Climate, Energy and Utilities, Denmark

About the Production Variance Report
Inspired by the UNEP Emissions Gap Report series – and designed as a complementary analysis – this report reflects the large gap between countries’ projected fossil fuel production and the global production levels needed to limit global warming to 1.5 ° C and 2 ° C.

About the Stockholm Environment Institute
The Stockholm Environment Institute is an independent international research institute that has been dealing with environmental and development issues at local, national, regional and global political levels for more than a quarter of a century. SEI supports decision making for sustainable development by linking science and politics.

About the United Nations Environment Program (UNEP)
UNEP is the world’s leading voice on the environment. It provides leadership and encourages partnership in protecting the environment by inspiring, informing and enabling nations and peoples to improve their quality of life without compromising that of future generations.

About the International Institute for Sustainable Development
The International Institute for Sustainable Development (IISD) is an independent, award-winning think tank that advocates for research-driven solutions to the world’s greatest environmental challenges. Our vision is a balanced world where people and the planet thrive; our mission is to accelerate the global transition to clean water, equitable economies and a stable climate. With offices in Winnipeg, Geneva, Ottawa and Toronto, our work impacts lives in nearly 100 countries.

About ODI
ODI is an independent, global think tank that works to inspire people to take action against injustice and inequality. Through research, convocation and influence, ODI generates ideas that matter to people and the planet.

About E3G
E3G is an independent European climate change think tank that is accelerating the transition to a climate safe world. E3G is comprised of leading global strategists on the political economy of climate change, dedicated to achieving a safe climate for all. E3G builds cross-sectoral coalitions to achieve carefully defined results, chosen for their ability to leverage change. E3G works closely with like-minded partners in government, politics, business, civil society, science, media, public interest foundations and beyond. E3G makes the necessary possible.

For more information please contact:

Annika Flensburg, Senior Press Officer, Stockholm Environment Institute.
Keisha Rukikaire, Information and Media Officer, United Nations Environment Program.
Angela Picciariello, Senior Research Officer, Overseas Development Institute.
Paulina Resich, Senior Communications Officer, International Institute for Sustainable Development.


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