SOURCE: National Geographic
DATE: November 20, 2019
SNIP: Global governments plan to produce 120 percent more fossil fuels by 2030, drastically at odds with the 2.7 degrees Fahrenheit (1.5 degrees Celsius) warming limit they all agreed to under the 2015 Paris Climate Agreement. All major fossil fuel-producing nations—including the United States, China, Russia, Saudi Arabia, India, Canada, and Australia—have ambitious plans to increase production, according to a new report by leading research organizations and the United Nations.
Carbon emissions from fossil fuel use totaled 37.1 billion tonnes in 2018, a new record. Substantially reducing those emissions will never happen without reducing fossil fuel production, says Michael Lazarus, a lead author of “The Production Gap Report” and the director of Stockholm Environment Institute’s U.S. Center.
Using publicly-available government documents, the report found that countries’ plans to increase production of coal, oil, and gas amounts to 120 percent more in 2030 than would be consistent with limiting global warming to 2.7 degrees F. Those plans include producing 280 percent more coal. That puts the world on a path to more than 7.2 degrees F (4 degrees C) of warming, says Lazarus.
“This report shows, for the first time, just how big the disconnect is between Paris temperature goals and countries’ plans and policies for coal, oil, and gas production,” Lazarus says. “Even countries claiming to be climate leaders like Canada and Norway say they want to maximize their fossil fuel exports,” he said in an interview.
Investments in new fossil fuel infrastructure today “locks in” fossil fuel production. If it continues as planned countries will end up producing between 40 and 50 percent more oil and gas by 2030 than would be consistent with limiting warming to 3.6 degrees F (2 degrees C). In a landmark report last year the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change warned that 2 degrees C of warming would have enormous impacts and costs on the environment.
The U.S. currently produces more oil and gas than any other country, and is the second largest producer of coal. Oil and gas production will increase to 30 percent above current levels by 2030 predicts the Energy Information Administration (EIA). The U.S. has begun the process of withdrawing from the Paris agreement.