It is an incoherence: planning a cut in greenhouse gas emissions while increasing the global production of fossil fuels that, when burned, release those gases responsible for the climate crisis. World governments plan to produce more than twice as much oil, gas and coal by 2030 as would be possible to contain global warming on Earth by 1.5ºC, according to the evaluation of national energy plans carried out by the UN.
More than half of the world’s oil must remain unexpired to meet the 1.5 ° C warming limit
What the organization has calculated is that world governments, together, plan to produce 110% more fossil fuels in this decade than the amount that would limit the extra temperature to those 1.5ºC, but even 45% more to achieve that the The rise will remain at 2ºC and somehow comply with the 2015 Paris Agreement. The agreement that was signed by those same governments.
So, while many of these countries proclaim programs to reduce greenhouse gas emissions – they even speak of net zero emissions in 2050 – “they are projecting production levels higher than those implied by their emission reduction goals. “, underlines the report Production Gap 2021. Last September, a work spearheaded by the University College of London rcalculated how much oil should stay underground to meet that goal of 1.5ºCIf in 2015 they estimated that it would have to be 33% of world reserves, in 2021 they had risen to 58%.
The formula has no secrets: if you take these fuels out of the ground it is because they are going to burn and, therefore, they will emit CO2 or methane into the atmosphere. The gaseous crust that prevents solar radiation from escaping into outer space after bouncing off the planet will thicken. It will be trapped in the form of heat. That is the greenhouse effect that alters the climate. “Global fossil fuel production must begin to decline immediately and rapidly to be consistent with limiting long-term warming to 1.5 ° C,” the UN repeats once again.
However, world governments are on the opposite path. Projections indicate that oil and gas production will increase. 57% excess of the first and 71% of the second if you want to limit the heating to 1.5ºC. To this is added that, although everything indicates that there will be a “modest reduction [global] of coal “, production would still be 240% above target. The UN Panel of Experts (the IPCCC) Three years ago, he detailed the difference in terms of negative impacts that does not reach the 1.5ºC cap. and reach an extra 2ºC on the planet. The latest revision of the countries’ climate plans – which showed improvements – still predicts a warming of 2.7ºC.
“The investigation is clear: the production of coal, oil and gas must begin to decrease immediately. And drastically”, sums up Ploy Achakulwisut, one of the principal investigators of the report. Achakulwisut, who works at the Stockholm Environment Institute, says that, despite this reality, “governments continue to plan and support levels of fossil fuel production that far exceed what we could burn.”
If you take a look at the specific states, it is clear how Australia, Brazil, Canada, China, India, Mexico, Saudi Arabia and the United States are “promoting, investing and planning the expansion of production” of gas and oil. the ONU. Someone like Russia varies between stabilizing on oil (not going down) and continuing to rise on gas – in fact take advantage of the melting of the Arctic to boost your projects gas previously impossible due to the polar cold. Coal is the fossil mineral that more countries expect to disengage from, but even so, India and Russia appear with increases. Australia stabilizes.
The analysis criticizes that governments provide “significant political support for the production of fossil fuels, through tax breaks, financing, direct investments in infrastructure or exemptions from environmental requirements.”
Money and way out of the COVID crisis
“Since January 2020, the G20 countries have allocated $ 297 billion [255.000 millones de euros] from new public financial commitments to fossil fuel consumption and production activities. Although governments have started to spend a higher percentage of their COVID-19 recovery spending on clean energy, they still spend more in support of fossil fuels. ”This analysis indicates where a good percentage of money is being put.
This panorama coincides with the already verified increase in gas emissions that the planet has experienced during 2021. Not even the pandemic has succeeded in slowing down the inexorable advance of climate change. Once the acute phase of COVID-19 was behind, the relaunch of activities has meant that the amount of CO2, nitrous oxide or methane returned to 2019 levels in the power generation or industrial sectors. Also the concentration of nitrogen dioxide in the atmosphere has grown so far this year: 415 parts per million (ppm).