Fossil fuel production set to soar over next decade – UN warns it will be ‘incompatible with keeping global temperatures to safe levels’
By Matt McGrath
Plans by governments to extract fossil fuels up to 2030 are incompatible with keeping global temperatures to safe levels, says the UN.
The UNEP production gap report says countries will drill or mine more than double the levels needed to keep the 1.5C threshold alive.
Oil and gas recovery is set to rise sharply with only a modest decrease in coal.
There has been little change since the first report was published in 2019.
With the COP26 climate conference just over a week away, there is already a huge focus on the carbon-cutting ambitions of the biggest emitters.
But despite the flurry of net zero emission goals and the increased pledges of many countries, some of the biggest oil, gas and coal producers have not set out plans for the rapid reductions in fossil fuels that scientists say are necessary to limit temperatures in coming years.
Earlier this year, researchers from the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) warned of the dangers for humanity of allowing temperatures to rise by more than 1.5C this century. To keep under this threshold will require cuts in carbon emissions of around 45% by 2030 based on 2010 levels.
But instead of curbing carbon, many of the biggest emitting countries are also planning to significantly increase their production of fossil fuels, according to the UN.
The production gap report finds that countries plan to produce around 110% more fossil fuel than would be compatible with a 1.5C temperature rise by the end of this century. The plans are around 45% more than what’s needed to keep the temperature rise to 2C.
According to the study, coal production will drop but gas will increase the most over the next 20 years, to levels that are simply incompatible with the Paris agreement.
The report profiles 15 major production countries including Australia, Russia, Saudi Arabia, the US and UK.
Most governments continue to provide significant policy support for fossil fuel production, the authors say.