Fossil fuel production is on the rise globally, in stark contrast to the climate goals outlined in the Paris Agreement, which require both oil and gas production to decline significantly.

Global governments plan to produce 120 percent more fossil fuels by 2030, drastically at odds with the 1.5 degrees Celsius warming limit they all agreed to under the 2015 Paris Climate Agreement. All major fossil fuel-producing nations—including the United States, China, Russia, Saudi Arabia, India, Canada, and Australia have ambitious plans to increase production.

Carbon emissions from fossil fuel use totaled 37.1 billion tons in 2018, a new record. Substantially reducing those emissions will never happen without reducing fossil fuel production.

Countries’ plans to increase production of coal, oil, and gas amounts to 120 percent more in 2030 than would be consistent with limiting global warming to1.5 degrees Celsius. Those plans include producing 280 percent more coal. That puts the world on a path that could exceed 3 degrees Celsius.

There is a big disconnect between Paris temperature goals and countries’ plans and policies for coal, oil, and gas production. Even countries claiming to be climate leaders like Canada and Norway say they want to maximize their fossil fuel exports.

If the world uses even 20 percent more fossil fuels in 2030 than today it is bound to create massive systemic risks.

Investments in new fossil fuel infrastructure today locks in fossil fuel production. If it continues as planned countries will end up producing between 40 and 50 percent more oil and gas by 2030 than would be consistent with limiting warming to 2 degrees Celsius . The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change warned that 2 degrees Celsius of warming would have enormous impacts and costs on the environment.

Of the 27 fossil fuel-producing countries, the top nine account for over two-thirds of global fossil fuel CO2 emissions.

Oil Production (Top 9)

  1. USA
  2. Saudi Arabia
  3. Russia
  4. Iraq
  5. Iran
  6. China
  7. Canada
  8. UAE
  9. Kuwait

Gas Production (Top 9)

  1. USA
  2. Russia
  3. Iran
  4. Qatar
  5. Canada
  6. China
  7. Norway
  8. Saudi Arabia
  9. Indonesia

The U.S. currently produces more oil and gas than any other country, and is the second largest producer of coal. Oil and gas production will increase to 30 percent above current levels by 2030 predicts the Energy Information Administration (EIA). 

Countries have numerous options for closing the production gap, including limiting exploration and extraction, removing subsidies, and aligning future production plans with climate goals.

Phasing down fossil fuel production needs to be done in ways that ensures those affected by social and economic change are not left behind. Germany, one of the world’s largest coal producers, will phase out coal power plants entirely by 2038, as well as lignite coal mining. It has set aside $47 billion in government support to compensate those affected.

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