The world’s top fossil-fuel producing nations are still planning to increase their output of oil, gas and coal far beyond what the world’s climate targets would allow, according to a new United Nations report.
The findings reveal a widening gap between the emissions-cutting pledges these nations have made and their continued policies to promote mining and drilling within their borders.
Even as the vast majority of countries have adopted net-zero pledges to slash their climate emissions, their own plans and projections put them on track to extract more than twice the level of fossil fuels by 2030 than would be consistent with limiting warming to 1.5 degrees Celsius, and nearly 70 percent more than would be consistent with 2 degrees Celsius of warming, according to a report released Wednesday by the U.N. Environment Program.
Scientists say that beyond 1.5 degrees of warming, more extreme and dangerous changes to planetary systems will become increasingly likely.
This “production gap” between planned output and climate goals is a warning, the report said, that the transition away from fossil fuels remains off-course.
U.N. Secretary-General António Guterres called the findings “a startling indictment of runaway climate carelessness.”
Inger Andersen, the executive director of U.N. Environment Program, said in a statement accompanying the report that “governments’ plans to expand fossil fuel production are undermining the energy transition needed to achieve net-zero emissions, throwing humanity’s future into question.”