Today, the United Nations Environment Programme published a new report with a game-changing title.
‘The Production Gap’ details the alarming disparity between countries’ current plans for coal, oil, and gas expansion, and the emissions reductions that science and the Paris Agreement demand.
It’s the first time the UN has pointed a finger so clearly at fossil fuel culprits — and a hopeful sign that policy might finally begin to respond to climate strikers’ demands and focus on curbing fossil fuels at the source.
The recent decision from the European Investment Bank to end fossil fuel finance is an uplifting sign of changing tides. But we need much, much more action — and fast.
Key findings from the report
- In 2030, the world will produce 120% more fossil fuels than is consistent with limiting warming to 1.5˚C.
- Fossil fuels are by far the biggest contributor to global climate change, accounting for 75% of all greenhouse gas emissions and 90% of carbon dioxide emissions.
- The biggest production gap is for coal, yet both oil and gas are also on track to exceed carbon budgets.
- The oil and gas production gap widens over time as infrastructure and investment lock the use of these fuels into our lives.
The science is clear: We must put an end — right now — to all measures that support the extraction and burning of fossil fuels.
There are plenty of options to close the gap, and activists all around the world are standing up for them.
We can curb public finance for fossil fuels. We can limit exploration and extraction by denying permits and passing bans. We can eliminate fossil fuel subsidies.
And we must. These findings show just how much work is left to be done to protect the homes, health, and livelihoods of everyone affected by the climate crisis. But ‘The Production Gap’ also signals a paradigm shift, where fossil fuels are finally being accepted in the mainstream for what they are — the primary drivers of the climate crisis.
It’s time to close the gap.
The rallying cries of youth are starting to be heard, and it’s up to us to keep up the pressure. Find out what you can do to end the age of fossil fuels.
The United Nations Environment Programme published this report in partnership with the Stockholm Environment Institute, the International Institute for Sustainable Development, ODI, Climate Analytics, and the CICERO Center for International Climate Research.