Fossil fuel drilling plans undermine climate commitments, UN report warns

WASHINGTON – As world leaders pledge to take more action climate change , many countries still plan to dramatically increase their oil, ...


WASHINGTON – As world leaders pledge to take more action climate change, many countries still plan to dramatically increase their oil, gas and coal production in the coming decades, which risks undermining these lofty commitments, according to a report supported by the United Nations published Tuesday.

The report examined future mining and drilling plans in 15 major fossil fuel-producing countries, including the United States, Saudi Arabia, Russia, Canada, China, India and Norway. Together, these countries currently plan to produce more than twice as much oil, gas and coal by 2030 than would be needed if governments wanted to limit warming to 1.5 degrees Celsius (2.7 degrees Fahrenheit). above pre-industrial levels.

Scientists and world leaders increasingly argue that it is crucial to keep global warming at 1.5 degrees Celsius if mankind wants to avoid the most catastrophic consequences of climate change, such as increasingly deadly heat waves, large-scale flooding and widespread extinctions. The world has already warmed by around 1.1 degrees since the industrial revolution.

But the projected global expansion of fossil fuel extraction is hitting these climate targets heavily, the report said.

If the world remains inundated with oil, gas and coal for decades, many countries could find it harder to switch to cleaner sources of energy. At the same time, many oil wells and coal mines under approval and development could prove to be profoundly unprofitable if the demand for fossil fuels declines, creating economic disruption.

By 2030, according to the report, the world’s nations plan to produce 240% more coal, 57% more oil and 71% more natural gas than would be needed to limit warming to 1.5. degree Celsius.

Starting October 31, world leaders will meet at a major United Nations climate summit in Glasgow for two weeks to discuss how to reduce their global warming emissions. But environmentalists say governments must also focus on future plans to extract fossil fuels, so that they are more closely aligned with proposals to sell more electric vehicles or install more renewable energy.

“Governments around the world must step in with swift and immediate action to close the fossil fuel production gap and ensure a just and just transition,” said Inger Andersen, executive director of the United Nations Environment Program.

Over the past decade, governments and businesses have slowly begun to pull the global economy away from its long-standing dependence on fossil fuels. Many countries are now planning major wind and solar power developments and canceling plans for new coal-fired power plants. Major automakers like Ford and General Motors are investing heavily in electric vehicles and are preparing to gradually cut sales of gasoline and diesel cars.

But this is only the beginning. The International Energy Agency recently watched which would be necessary to keep global warming at 1.5 degrees Celsius. All nations of the world are expected to dramatically reduce their use of fossil fuels over the next three decades until they are no longer adding greenhouse gases to the atmosphere by 2050, essentially hitting emissions ” net ”.

In this scenario, the agency said, the nations of the world would not approve the development of new coal mines or new oil and gas fields beyond what has already been initiated today.

Yet the new report, led by researchers at the Stockholm Environment Institute, warns that many countries are still far from the envisioned future.

Even if countries like China and the United States expect to reduce coal mining in the coming decades, this would be offset by plans for new mining operations in places like Australia, India. and Russia.

The United States, according to the report, is still expected to see a significant increase in oil and gas production by 2030. The Biden administration has pledged to suspend and reform leasing programs for oil drilling and gas company on federal lands, although these efforts have been linked. in court.

The report notes that more than half of the world’s fossil fuel production is controlled by state-owned companies, which are often insulated from market pressures and sometimes legally required to maintain production in order to keep tax revenues circulating. But even countries that depend on private companies to extract coal or drill for oil often pay subsidies that can artificially keep fossil fuel production high.

In practice, it may prove difficult for governments to adopt an orderly reduction in fossil fuel production around the world. Even if the world shifts to cleaner energy, there will still be a demand for oil and gas during the transition period. Every country that pumps oil and gas would prefer to grab as much of this shrinking market share as possible and let the others shrink. This dynamic can lead to overproduction all over the world.

Make the task even more difficult, the world is currently experiencing a severe energy crisiswith Europe, Asia and Latin America all facing natural gas shortages this fall to supplant their renewable energy businesses. The International Energy Agency recently warned that countries need to dramatically increase their investments in clean energy to overcome these problems, but the disruptions could also reinforce calls for increased production of fossil fuels. The Chinese government, for example, recently ordered coal companies to increase their mining output to manage a power shortage that has led to nationwide blackouts.

To address these challenges, the new report calls for closer international coordination “to ensure that declines in fossil fuel production are distributed as evenly as possible, while minimizing the risk of disruption.”

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Newsrust - US Top News: Fossil fuel drilling plans undermine climate commitments, UN report warns
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