World will overshoot 2030 coal limit to tame warming by twice over

Notwithstanding the global consensus among countries that fossil fuel emissions must be eliminated, a new report says that the governments plan to produce twice as much fossil fuels in 2030 than would be consistent with limiting warming to 1.5°C, and 69% more than would be consistent with 2°C.

This comes despite 151 governments having pledged to achieve net-zero emissions – or no net emissions from 2050-2070. The latest forecasts suggest that despite promises by governments made as part of the 2015 Paris Agreement that global coal, oil, and gas demand will peak this decade, even without new policies, their forecasts would lead to an increase in global coal production until 2030, and in global oil and gas production until at least 2050, creating an ever-widening fossil fuel production gap over time.

Later this month at least 190 countries are expected to convene in Dubai, for the annual Conference of Parties, to thrash out timelines to abate fossil fuel emissions, accelerate the adoption of renewable energy and pay vulnerable countries to help them weather the effects of global warming.

The Production Gap Report, as it is called, was released Wednesday and is produced by the Stockholm Environment Institute (SEI), Climate Analytics, E3G, International Institute for Sustainable Development (IISD) and the UN Environment Programme (UNEP) — assesses governments’ planned and projected production of coal, oil, and gas against global levels consistent with the Paris Agreement’s temperature goal.

The report analyses emissions trends for 20 major fossil-fuel-producing countries: Australia, Brazil, Canada, China, Colombia, Germany, India, Indonesia, Kazakhstan, Kuwait, Mexico, Nigeria, Norway, Qatar, the Russian Federation, Saudi Arabia, South Africa, the United Arab Emirates, the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland, and the United States of America. They suggest that most of these governments continue to provide significant policy and financial support for fossil fuel production.

“We find that many governments are promoting fossil gas as an essential ‘transition’ fuel but with no apparent plans to transition away from it later,” says Ploy Achakulwisut, of SEI and a lead author on the report said in a statement “But science says we must start reducing global coal, oil, and gas production and use now — along with scaling up clean energy, reducing methane emissions from all sources, and other climate actions — to keep the 1.5°C goal alive.”

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