Fossil Fuel production plans vastly exceed the World’s Climate Goals
by WMO, UNEP, SEI, IISD, agencies
10:27am 9th Nov, 2023
Fossil Fuel production plans vastly exceed the World’s Climate Goals: ‘Throwing Humanity’s Future into Question’ (UNEP, SEI, IISD, agencies)
The world’s top fossil-fuel producing nations are still planning to increase their output of oil, gas and coal far beyond what the world’s climate targets would allow, according to the Production Gap Report released by the United Nations.
The findings reveal a ever widening gap between the emissions-cutting pledges nations have made and their continued policies to promote fossil fuel production.
Even as a majority of countries have adopted net-zero pledges to cut their climate emissions, their own plans and projections put them on track to extract more than twice the level of fossil fuels by 2030 than would be consistent with limiting warming to 1.5 degrees Celsius, and nearly 70 percent more than would be consistent with 2 degrees Celsius of warming, according to the report issued by the U.N. Environment Program.
Scientists say that beyond 1.5 degrees of warming, more extreme and dangerous changes to planetary systems become increasingly certain.
This “production gap” between planned output and climate goals is a warning, the report underlines, noting that the transition away from fossil fuels remains way off-course.
U.N. Secretary-General Antonio Guterres called the findings “a startling indictment of runaway climate carelessness.”
Inger Andersen, the executive director of U.N. Environment Program, said that “governments’ plans to expand fossil fuel production are undermining the energy transition needed to achieve net-zero emissions, throwing humanity’s future into question.”
The 2023 Production Gap Report: “Phasing down or phasing up? Top fossil fuel producers plan even more extraction despite climate promises” is produced by Stockholm Environment Institute (SEI), Climate Analytics, E3G, International Institute for Sustainable Development (IISD) and the UN Environment Programme (UNEP).
It assesses governments’ planned and projected production of coal, oil, and gas against global levels consistent with the Paris Agreement’s temperature goal.
“Governments are literally doubling down on fossil fuel production; that spells double trouble for people and the planet,” said UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres. “We cannot address climate catastrophe without tackling its root cause: fossil fuel dependence. The upcoming climate conference COP28 must send a clear signal that the fossil fuel age is out of gas — that its end is inevitable. We need credible commitments to ramp up renewables, phase out fossil fuels, and boost energy efficiency, while ensuring a just, equitable transition.”
July 2023 was the hottest month ever recorded, and likely the hottest for the past 120,000 years, according to climate scientists. Across the globe, deadly heat waves, droughts, wildfires, storms, and floods are costing lives and livelihoods, making clear that human-induced climate change is here. Global carbon dioxide emissions — almost 90% of which come from fossil fuels — rose to record highs in 2021–2022.
The 2023 Production Gap Report offers newly expanded country profiles 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. These profiles reveal 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, a lead author on the report and SEI scientist. “But science says we must reduce 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.”
"The writing’s on the wall for fossil fuels. By mid-century we need to have consigned coal to the history books, and cut oil and gas production by at least three quarters. Yet despite their climate promises, governments plan on ploughing yet more money into a dirty, dying industry, while opportunities abound in a flourishing clean energy sector. On top of economic insanity, it is a climate disaster of our own making.” – Neil Grant, Climate and Energy Analyst, Climate Analytics
"Despite governments around the world signing up to ambitious net zero targets, global coal, oil and gas production are all still increasing while planned reductions are nowhere near enough to avoid the worst effects of climate change. This widening gulf between governments' rhetoric and their actions is not only undermining their authority but increasing the risk to us all. We are already on track this decade to produce 460% more coal, 82% more gas, and 29% more oil than would be in line with the 1.5°C warming target. Ahead of COP28, governments must look to dramatically increase transparency about how they will hit emissions targets and bring in legally binding measures to support these aims." – Angela Picciariello, Senior Researcher, IISD
http://www.unep.org/news-and-stories/press-release/governments-plan-produce-double-fossil-fuels-2030-15degc-warming http://www.unep.org/resources/production-gap-report-2023 http://www.theguardian.com/environment/2023/nov/08/insanity-petrostates-planning-huge-expansion-of-fossil-fuels-says-un-report http://insideclimatenews.org/news/08112023/un-production-fossil-fuels-outstrip-climate-goals/ http://news.un.org/en/story/2023/11/1143342 http://www.dw.com/en/world-must-rapidly-cut-emissions-or-see-nearly-3-c-warming/a-67496910 http://www.unep.org/resources/emissions-gap-report-2023 http://350.org/press-release/powering-up-for-climate-justice-350-org-launches-report-on-global-renewable-energy-target/
Adaptation Gap Report 2023: Underfinanced. Underprepared - Inadequate investment and planning on climate adaptation leaves world exposed - UN Environment Programme
Progress on climate adaptation is slowing on all fronts when it should be accelerating to catch up with rising climate change impacts and risks, according to a new United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) report.
The Adaptation Gap Report 2023 finds that the adaptation finance needs of developing countries are 10-18 times as big as international public finance flows – over 50 per cent higher than the previous range estimate.
"Today’s Adaptation Gap Report shows a growing divide between need and action when it comes to protecting people from climate extremes. Action to protect people and nature is more pressing than ever," UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres said in his message on the report. “Lives and livelihoods are being lost and destroyed, with the vulnerable suffering the most.”
"We are in an adaptation emergency. We must act like it. And take steps to close the adaptation gap, now," he added.
As a result of the growing adaptation finance needs and faltering flows, the current adaptation finance gap is now estimated to be US$194-366 billion per year. At the same time, adaptation planning and implementation appear to be plateauing. This failure to adapt has massive implications for losses and damages, particularly for the most vulnerable.
“In 2023, climate change yet again became more disruptive and deadly: temperature records toppled, while storms, floods, heatwaves and wildfires caused devastation,” said Inger Andersen, Executive Director of UNEP. “These intensifying impacts tell us that the world must urgently cut greenhouse gas emissions and increase adaptation efforts to protect vulnerable populations. Neither is happening.”
“Even if the international community were to stop emitting all greenhouse gases today, climate disruption would take decades to dissipate,” she added. “So, I urge policymakers to take heed of the Adaptation Gap Report, step up finance and make COP28 the moment that the world committed fully to protecting low-income countries and disadvantaged groups from damaging climate impacts.”
Finance, planning and implementation waning
The modelled costs of adaptation in developing countries are estimated at US$215 billion per year this decade and are projected to rise significantly by 2050. The adaptation finance needed to implement domestic adaptation priorities, based on extrapolation of costed Nationally Determined Contributions and National Adaptation Plans to all developing countries, is estimated at US$387 billion per year.
Despite these needs, public multilateral and bilateral adaptation finance flows to developing countries declined by 15 per cent to US$21 billion in 2021. This dip comes despite pledges made at COP26 in Glasgow to deliver around US$40 billion per year in adaptation finance support by 2025 and sets a worrying precedent.
While five out of six countries have at least one national adaptation planning instrument, progress to reach full global coverage is slowing. And the number of adaptation actions supported through international climate funds has stagnated for the past decade.
Ambitious adaptation can enhance resilience – which is particularly important for low-income countries and disadvantaged groups – and head off losses and damages.
The report points to a study indicating that the 55 most climate-vulnerable economies alone have experienced losses and damages of more than US$500 billion in the last two decades. These costs will rise steeply in the coming decades, particularly in the absence of forceful mitigation and adaptation.
Studies indicate that every billion invested in adaptation against coastal flooding leads to a US$14 billion reduction in economic damages. Meanwhile, US$16 billion per year invested in agriculture would prevent approximately 78 million people from starving or chronic hunger because of climate impacts.
However, neither the goal of doubling 2019 international finance flows to developing countries by 2025 nor a possible New Collective Quantified Goal for 2030 will significantly close the adaptation finance gap on their own and deliver such benefits.
The report identifies a number of ways to increasing financing, including through implementation of Article 2.1(c) of the Paris Agreement on shifting finance flows towards low-carbon and climate resilient development pathways, and a reform of the global financial architecture, as proposed by the Bridgetown Initiative.
The new loss and damage fund will also be an important instrument to mobilize resources, but issues remain. The fund will need to move towards more innovative financing mechanisms to reach the necessary scale of investment.
2023 State of Climate Services: Health. (WMO)
World Meteorological Organization's annual State of Climate Services report this year focuses on health. It highlights the need for tailored climate information and services to support the health sector in the face of more extreme weather and poor air quality, shifting infectious disease patterns and food and water insecurity.
“Practically the whole planet has experienced heatwaves this year. The onset of El Niño in 2023 will greatly increase the likelihood of breaking temperature records further, triggering more extreme heat in many parts of the world and in the ocean – and making the challenge even greater,” says WMO Secretary-General, Prof. Petteri Taalas.
“It is clear that by channelling investment and boosting collaboration, there is huge potential to go further and faster by enhancing the impact of climate science and services so that health partners get the support they need at a time when unprecedented changes to our climate are having an increasing impact,” says Prof. Taalas.
The report, which includes input from more than 30 collaborating partners, features case studies from around the world showcasing how integrated climate and health action makes a very real difference in people’s daily life.
“The climate crisis is a health crisis, driving more severe and unpredictable weather events, fuelling disease outbreaks, and contributing to higher rates of noncommunicable diseases,” said Dr Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, WHO Director-General. "By working together to make high-quality climate services more accessible to the health sector, we can help to protect the health and well-being of people facing the perils of climate change."
The number of medium- or large-scale disaster events is projected to reach 560 a year – or 1.5 each day – by 2030. Countries with limited early warning coverage have disaster mortality that is eight times higher than countries with substantial to comprehensive coverage, according to figures cited in the report.
A special section is devoted to extreme heat, which causes the greatest mortality of all extreme weather. However the impacts are underestimated as heat-related mortality could be 30 times higher than what is currently recorded. Heat warning services are provided to health decision makers in only half of the affected countries, but are expected to rapidly increase by 2027 under the international Early Warnings for All initiative.
Between 2000 and 2019, estimated deaths due to heat were approximately 489,000 per year, with a particularly high burden in Asia (45%) and Europe (36%). Extreme heat conditions during the summer of 2022, were estimated to have claimed over 60,000 excess deaths in 35 European countries.
Heatwaves also exacerbate air pollution, which is already responsible for an estimated 7 million premature deaths every year and is the fourth biggest killer by health risk factor.
Climate change is exacerbating risks of food insecurity. In 2012-2021, 29% more global land area was affected by extreme drought for at least one month per year than in 1951–1960. The compounding impacts of droughts and heatwave days were associated with 98 million additional people reporting moderate to severe food insecurity in 2020 than annually in 1981–2010, in 103 countries analysed, according to figures cited in the report.
The changing climatic conditions are also enhancing the transmission of many climatically sensitive infectious vector-, food-, and water-borne diseases. For example, dengue is the world’s fastest-spreading vector-borne disease, whilst the length of the malaria transmission season has increased in parts of the world.
Some of the most significant challenges to health are in the nexus of water, food security and nutrition, the nexus of infectious diseases (food-, water-, airborne and vector-borne diseases), and the nexus of extreme weather and air quality, particularly in urban areas, says the report.
Climate change undermines health determinants and increases pressures on health systems threatening to reverse decades of progress to promote human health and well-being, particularly in the most vulnerable communities.
The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) concludes, with very high confidence, that future health risks from injury, disease, and death will increase due to more intense and frequent temperature extremes, cyclones, storms, floods, droughts, and wildfires. It is anticipated that over 50% of the excess mortality resulting from climate change by the year 2050 will occur in Africa.
Health protection is a priority in almost all countries and requires high-quality information to better inform decision-making. Climate information and services are fundamental for better understanding how and when health systems and population health can be impacted by climate extremes and a changing climate, and for managing climate-related risks.
Climate information and services are fundamental for better understanding how and when health systems and population health can be impacted by climate extremes and a changing climate, and for managing risks. Tailored climate products and services can enhance the evidence and information available to health partners to detect, monitor, predict, and better manage climate-related health risks.
Governments are failing to cut greenhouse gas emissions fast enough to meet the goals of the Paris Climate agreement and avoid disastrous climate impacts, a major report by the UN has found.
The United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCC) released the Global Stocktake synthesis report, which offers the most comprehensive overview of climate action since the Paris Agreement was adopted in 2015, as well as a roadmap for governments moving forward.
The COP28 summit in Dubai, UAE, will center around how countries leverage the findings of the Global Stocktake report to keep the global goal of limiting temperature rise to 1.5 degrees C alive and address the impacts of climate change. The report highlights that global greenhouse gas emissions are still rising.
UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres: “The climate crisis is worsening dramatically – but the collective response is lacking in ambition, credibility, and urgency.. Half-measures will not prevent full climate breakdown”.
The UNFCCC report comes nearly eight years after countries finalized the Paris climate agreement, which aims to keep global temperature rise this century below 1.5°C, relative to preindustrial levels.
"The global stocktake was designed under the Paris agreement to assess our global response to the climate crisis and chart a better way forward," the UNFCCC explained Friday. The new synthesis report summarizes 17 key technical findings from the discussions.
"I urge governments to carefully study the findings of the report and ultimately understand what it means for them and the ambitious action they must take next," said U.N. Climate Change Executive Secretary Simon Stiell. "It's the same for businesses, communities, and other key stakeholders. While the catalytic role of the Paris agreement and the multilateral process will remain vital in the coming years, the global stocktake is a critical moment for greater ambition and accelerating action."
University College London professor of climatology Mark Maslin says the report "makes it clear that the Paris agreement was a game-changer" but also countries' greenhouse gas (GHG) emission reduction pledges are not in line with the 1.5°C target.
"The U.N. estimates that we need to reduce global GHG emissions by 43% by 2030 and further by 60% by 2035 compared to 2019 levels and reach net-zero carbon dioxide emissions by 2050 globally," Maslin explains. "This is a big ask given that greenhouse gas emissions were at their highest level ever in 2022."
"All the technology exists to undergo the net-zero transformation, we need big increases in renewables and batteries, we need everything to happen five times faster," he added.
“Achieving net zero CO2 and greenhouse gas emissions requires systems transformations across all sectors and contexts, including scaling up renewable energy while phasing out all unabated fossil fuels, ending deforestation, reducing non-CO2 emissions and implementing both supply and demand side measures,” reads key finding 6 of the Global Stocktake report.
The report states underlines that there is a “rapidly narrowing window” to implement existing commitments to limit global warming to 1.5 degrees Celsius above pre-industrial levels.
Global greenhouse gas emissions must peak by 2025 and drop sharply thereafter to keep the 1.5C target in view, the stocktake said, drawing from a scientific assessment by the UN’s Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC).
The stocktake also highlights the need to rapidly and radically scale up financial support to developing nations so they can adapt to climate-amplified weather disasters.
A number of African nations are dealing with high debt burdens, and are being impacted by worsening droughts, floods, heatwaves and storms.
Ani Dasgupta, President, World Resources Institute:
“The United Nations’ polite prose glosses over what is a truly damning report card for global climate efforts. Carbon emissions? Still climbing. Rich countries’ finance commitments? Delinquent. Adaptation support? Lagging woefully behind.
“This report is a wake-up call to the injustice of the climate crisis and a pivotal opportunity to correct course. We already knew the world is failing to meet its climate goals, but leaders now have a concrete blueprint underpinned by a mountain of evidence for how to get the job done.
“There are a few bright spots worth celebrating, such as the rapid uptake of renewable energy and electric vehicles in recent years. And numerous countries have rallied behind net-zero goals and passed important climate legislation. But overall, the report finds there are more gaps than progress – gaps that can only be erased by transformational change across systems like energy, food, land and transport.
“The future of our planet depends on whether national leaders use this stark assessment as a catalyst for bold systems transformation.
“At COP28, leaders must rally behind a response plan that accelerates action at a pace and depth not seen before. Critical steps include rapidly shifting away from fossil fuels toward renewable energy and fossil-free transport, transforming our food systems and boosting resilience. Wealthy nations need to provide far more funding to help developing countries transition to a better economy — one that lifts people out of poverty and ensures people can withstand floods and droughts, all while protecting nature and sharply reducing emissions.
“Success at COP28 hinges on whether governments respond to the Global Stocktake report not with words but through bold new commitments that steer humanity from our current destructive path.”
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