Fossil fuel extraction plans “vastly exceed” safe climate limits – UN

Drill or drop

Fossil fuel production planned by national governments “vastly exceeds” the limit needed to keep global temperatures at safe levels, the United Nations said today.

Egdon Resources’ oil production site at Wressle, North Lincolnshire. Photo: Union Jack Oil

Despite greater climate ambitions and net-zero commitments, oil and gas production is expected to rise sharply and planned cuts to coal extraction are just modest.

A report for the UN Environment Programme (UNEP) says countries have predicted they will produce more than double the fossil fuels (110%) in 2030 than would be consistent with limiting warming to 1.5C.

The 2021 Production Gap Report looks at the discrepancy between governments’ planned production of oil, gas and coal, and the global fossil fuel production levels needed to limit warming to 1.5C and 2C.

Since the first report in 2019, the gap is largely unchanged. Total fossil fuel production is expected to increase to at least 2040, creating an ever-widening production gap, it said.

Today’s report, produced by the Stockholm Environment Institute (SEI) and the International Institute for Sustainable Development (IISD), said governments’ production plans and projections would lead to about 240% more coal, 57% more oil, and 71% more gas in 2030 than would be consistent with limiting global warming to 1.5°C.

Ploy Achakulwisut, a lead author on the report and scientist at SEI, said:

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