Countries that vowed to stop warming are expanding use of fossil fuels, report says | ET REALITY


In 2030, if current projections hold, the United States will drill for more oil and gas than at any time in its history. Russia and Saudi Arabia plan to do the same.

They are among global fossil fuel giants that together are on track to produce twice as much fossil fuel this decade as a critical global warming threshold allows, according to a United Nations-backed report released Wednesday. .

The report, which looked at 20 of the top fossil fuel-producing countries, highlights the wide gap between world leaders’ lofty promises to take stronger action on climate change and their nations’ actual production plans.

This month, leaders will meet at a global climate summit in Dubai to discuss how to reduce their planet-warming emissions. But faced with strong opposition from major fossil fuel producers, climate conferences have so far avoided discussing a phase-out of fossil fuels.

Emissions from burning coal, oil and gas are the main drivers of global warming, which is already intensifying storms, floods, heat waves, wildfires and droughts. Scientists say 2023 will most likely be the hottest year on record.

“We cannot address the climate catastrophe without addressing its root cause: dependence on fossil fuels,” said António Guterres, Secretary-General of the United Nations.

“Fossil fuel emissions are already causing climate chaos that is devastating lives and livelihoods,” he said. However, “governments are literally doubling fossil fuel production.”

Almost all countries signed the Paris Agreement in 2015, the global climate pact that aims to limit the rise in average global temperatures to well below 2 degrees Celsius, and ideally no more than 1.5 degrees Celsius or 2, 7 degrees Fahrenheit, compared to pre-industrial levels.

And over the past decade, governments and companies have made progress in moving away from fossil fuels, increasing wind and solar power, for example, and investing in infrastructure for electric vehicles.

However, the report released Wednesday, led by researchers at the Stockholm Environmental Institute, found that the world’s nations plan to continue increasing coal production through 2030, and oil and gas production decades beyond.

That means the world is still on track to produce about 110 percent more oil, gas and coal through 2030 than would be possible if governments wanted to limit warming to 1.5 degrees Celsius, researchers warned. The world was also set to exceed, by 69 percent, the amount of fossil fuels needed to limit warming to 2 degrees Celsius.

Beyond those thresholds, the world faces the danger of irreversible and catastrophic damage from climate change, scientists say. The planet has already warmed an average of 1.2 degrees Celsius compared to pre-industrial levels.

There have been some signs of progress. In September, the first official report card on the global climate pact said that the worst climate change scenarios feared in the early 2010s looked much less likely today. The authors gave part of the credit to countries’ nascent efforts to control their emissions under the 2015 Paris Agreement and the rapid growth of clean energy.

Last month, the world’s top energy agency predicted that global demand for fossil fuels could actually peak in 2030, as policies to promote cleaner forms of energy and transportation take hold.

However, this prediction was criticized by the oil producing countries themselves: The OPEC oil cartel He warned that such forecasts could lead countries to underinvest. in oil and gas projects, leading to a lack of supply and “energy chaos.”

Wednesday’s report clearly places responsibility for curbing fossil fuel production on the world’s richest nations. For each fossil fuel (coal, oil or gas), the combined production levels being planned by just the 10 highest-income countries would already warm the world by more than 1.5 degrees by 2040, said Ploy Achakulwisut, who led the research.

State-owned companies control about half of the world’s oil and gas production, and more than half of its coal. But even in countries like the United States, where the private sector is dominant, government policies such as fossil fuel subsidies and tax breaks continue to prop up production. Global Fossil fuel subsidies rose to a record $7 trillion. last year, according to a count by the International Monetary Fund. This is more than governments around the world spend annually on education.

Some nations with sizable fossil fuel reserves are now vying to be the last producers standing even as the overall market begins to slow, saying they can drill for fossil fuels more cleanly than their competitors, researchers said.

“But when you take all of these factors together, that’s what leads to the output gap,” said Michael Lazarus, co-author of the report. “It is that desire for each country to maximize its own production.”

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