World moves away from limiting warming to 1.5°C

Less than a month before the annual climate summit, known as COP and in this case number 28, begins in Dubai; The main countries, or parties as it is known in this meeting, have to review their decarbonization plans as indicated in the Paris Agreement signed at COP21 that was held in the French capital. Efforts that so far, the scientific community agrees, are insufficient.

In fact, some of them claim that they are going in the opposite direction. “Governments’ plans to expand fossil fuel production are undermining the energy transition needed to achieve net-zero emissions, putting the future of humanity in doubt,” denounces Inger Andersen, executive director of the United Nations Environment Programme. Environment (UNEP).

Now, a report signed by several scientific organizations warns that the global decarbonization roadmap does not comply with what was agreed at COP21 and would prevent compliance with the 1.5ºC barrier with respect to the pre-industrial era. “By mid-century, we should have consigned coal to the history books and cut oil and gas production by at least three-quarters, on the path to a complete elimination of fossils. However, despite their climate promises, governments plan to pour even more money into a dirty and dying industry,” says Neil Grant, climate and energy analyst at Climate Analytics.

The research ensures that the use and production of coal will continue to increase, at least, until 2030 and that oil and gas production will not stop until 2050. «Countries should aim for an almost total elimination of the production and use of coal by 2040, and a combined reduction in the production and use of oil and gas by three quarters by 2050 from 2020 levels, at least,” says the text signed by the Stockholm Environment Institute (SEI), Climate Analytics, E3G, the International Institute for Sustainable Development (IISD) and the United Nations Environment Program (UNEP).

According to their projections, production plans for these fossil fuels are about 110% more at the end of this decade in 2030 than would be consistent with limiting warming to 1.5°C, and 69% more than would be consistent with limiting warming to 2°C. A major deviation that comes despite the fact that 151 countries have committed to achieving net zero emissions and that peak demand for coal, oil and gas will peak this decade, even without new policies.

Eyes on COP28

Despite being the root cause of the climate crisis, fossil fuels have remained largely absent from international climate negotiations until recent years. Egypt’s last climate summit, held a year ago, tiptoed around on this issue and no major progress is expected at this year’s annual meeting in the United Arab Emirates.

“COP28 could be the crucial moment when governments finally commit to phasing out all fossil fuels and recognize the role producers must play in facilitating a managed and equitable transition,” says Michael Lazarus, lead author of the report.

In the research, made public this Wednesday, scientists focus on 20 countries: Australia, Brazil, Canada, China, Colombia, Germany, India, Indonesia, Kazakhstan, Kuwait, Mexico, Nigeria, Norway, Qatar, Russia, Saudi Arabia , South Africa, the United Arab Emirates, the United Kingdom and the United States of America. “These profiles show that most of these governments continue to provide significant political and financial support for fossil fuel production,” the authors warn.

“Starting from this COP, countries must unite behind a controlled and equitable phase-out of coal, oil and gas, to alleviate the turbulence ahead and benefit all people on this planet,” says Andersen.

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