Part of the reason is that nearly every country and company sees itself in the unique position of being the last fossil fuel producer of the future.
“Every country has its own reasons for being last,” said Michael Lazarus, a senior scientist at the Stockholm Environmental Research Institute and one of the authors of the Production Gap Report, which analyzed countries’ fossil fuel expansion plans. “There is,” he said.
In recent years, there has been a gap between countries’ plans for fossil fuels, and downward revisions. The trajectory needed to meet climate goals is a yawning chasm. According to the Production Gap Report, a project of the United Nations Environment Program and Research Group, countries’ projections and plans for fossil fuel production in 2030 are more than double the amount needed for a 1.5 degree Celsius warming limit.
The report analyzed fossil fuel production estimates by governments of the 20 largest fossil fuel producing countries, including the United States, Russia, Mexico and the United Arab Emirates. By 2050, the gap is predicted to be even larger. The study predicts that countries will produce 2.5 times more fossil fuels in 2050 than to meet the 2 degrees Celsius goal.
Scientists predict that at that threshold, sea levels will rise higher than at 1.5, there will be more extreme heat, and the likelihood of exceeding a catastrophic tipping point will increase.
“There is a complete disconnect between what the government is planning and what is needed to meet the Paris goals,” said Greg Muttit, a senior research fellow at the International Institute for Sustainability. development.
Lazarus said part of the reason for the disconnect is that many countries believe they should continue producing fossil fuels, while others have stopped producing them. For example, Norway, which generates almost all of its electricity from renewable sources and has one of the highest proportions of electric vehicles in the world, touts the low-carbon intensity of its oil and gas and aims to ensure that its exports contribute to European energy security. They claim that it is essential for security.
Saudi Arabia and other Persian Gulf states claim they can produce oil and gas at lower costs than their competitors. The United States plans to “reduce” emissions through carbon capture and storage so that carbon does not pollute the atmosphere.
As a result, countries are rushing to gain advantage and market share before the world moves more firmly towards renewable energy. “Production is being rushed while some social license is maintained,” Lazarus said.
And oil and gas companies are doing the same thing.While some companies pay lip service to the idea of switching to renewable energy (mainly large European companies) and building carbon capture and storage (mainly large US companies), investments in these areas are slow. Insignificant.
According to an analysis by the International Energy Agency, less than 3% of fossil fuel companies’ capital spending (the amount of money they spend on physical things) currently funds clean energy. The agency predicts that by 2050, 50 percent of these spending should support clean energy if the world wants to meet climate change goals.
Carbon capture and storage faces similar headwinds. Each year, the world captures only 45 million tons. CO2 produced by fossil fuels – Rounding error compared to over 36 billion tons of CO2 released into the atmosphere. And much of the captured CO2 ends up being used to drill for more oil.
But like world leaders, many oil and gas companies appear to be betting on outliving their peers. “Some oil companies appear to be planning to join the last remaining producers,” Jason Bordoff, director of Columbia University’s Center on Global Energy Policy, recently wrote.
Climate change is always full of contradictions. For example, those who use the least amount of fossil fuels will be the most affected. However, in recent years, the contradiction of fossil fuels has become the biggest contradiction. More than 2,000 fossil fuel lobbyists are estimated to attend the latest climate summit in Dubai.The US is expected to extract more oil and gas this year than ever before And we currently produce more oil than any other country in history.
“We can’t solve the climate crisis without addressing the number one cause of the climate crisis: fossil fuels,” said Kelly Trout, research co-director at Oil Change International.
But many countries seem to believe they can do just that.