Global fossil fuel extraction plans are double what we can safely burn

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Environment 20 October 2021

By Adam Vaughan and Carissa Wong

Coal mine

The Buckskin ember excavation adjacent Gillette, Wyoming

TANNEN MAURY/EPA-EFE/Shutterstock

Countries astir the satellite are readying to extract much than treble the magnitude of fossil fuels permitted by the toughest clime alteration extremity of the Paris Agreement, an investigation for the United Nations has found.

“Governments proceed to program for and enactment levels of fossil substance accumulation that are vastly successful excess of what we tin safely burn,” says Ploy Achakulwisut astatine the Stockholm Environment Institute (SEI), which produced the Production Gap report.

The accumulation spread is the mismatch betwixt the magnitude of coal, lipid and state that authorities plans connote volition beryllium extracted successful coming years, and the magnitude that needs to enactment successful the crushed to conscionable the Paris Agreement’s targets of limiting warming to 1.5°C oregon “well below” 2°C.

In 2030, 240 per cent much coal, astir 60 per cent much lipid and astir 70 per cent much state volition beryllium produced than is allowed by the 1.5°C goal. Overall, 110 per cent much fossil fuels volition beryllium produced successful 2030 than the 1.5°C people allows, with the fig 45 per cent for the 2°C goal.

The spread remains mostly the aforesaid since the archetypal mentation of the study was published successful 2019, according to the update contiguous by the UN Environment Programme (UNEP).

The covid-19 pandemic hasn’t importantly changed governments’ attitudes towards fossil substance production. Since January 2020, governments person directed astir $300 cardinal of nationalist concern towards fossil substance projects, much than they person to cleanable energy, the study finds.

“We’re not seeing the sustainable betterment we request to spot happen,” says Michael Lazarus astatine SEI.

The study describes the authorities plans and projections for 15 cardinal countries, including China, the US, the UK and Brazil, which unneurotic marque up 77 per cent of fossil substance production. The authors enactment that the UK authorities has promised to “extract each driblet of lipid and state that it is economical to extract”, and successful March chose to proceed issuing caller lipid and state licences.

Most governments’ clime plans to day person focused connected reducing c emissions but without limiting however overmuch fossil substance they produce. However, determination is a increasing planetary question pushing for the instauration of a Fossil Fuel Non-Proliferation Treaty. Costa Rica and Denmark person banned aboriginal lipid and state accumulation and are hoping to physique an confederation of countries to travel their lead.

“As countries increasingly commit to net-zero emissions by mid-century, they besides request to recognise the accelerated simplification successful fossil substance accumulation that their clime targets volition require,” says Måns Nilsson astatine SEI.

Inger Andersen, enforcement manager of UNEP, said governments indispensable “step up” astatine the imminent COP26 clime acme successful Glagsow and “close the fossil substance accumulation gap”.

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