UN report says world must halve coal, oil and gas production to save planet

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The world must halve its production of fossil fuels over the next decade to maintain a chance to meet global goals, according to a new UN report.

A report from the United Nations Environment Program found that governments have made ambitious commitments but continue to nurture the “output gap,” in which they increase production while setting bold climate targets.

A construction worker specializing in piping sandblasting a section of pipeline July 25, 2013 outside Watford City, North Dakota.  North Dakota is currently experiencing an oil boom, creating thousands of jobs statewide and billions of dollars in new revenue for the state.  The local two-lane roads that are used to access the drilling sites have suffered a severe blow due to the unprecedented amount of traffic.  Pipelines are being built statewide in part to streamline the movement of oil from drilling sites to train depots and oil refineries.
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A construction worker specializing in piping sandblasting a section of pipeline July 25, 2013 outside Watford City, North Dakota. North Dakota is currently experiencing an oil boom, creating thousands of jobs statewide and billions of dollars in new revenue for the state. The local two-lane roads that are used to access the drilling sites have suffered a severe blow due to the unprecedented amount of traffic. Pipelines are being built statewide in part to streamline the movement of oil from drilling sites to train depots and oil refineries.
(Andrew Burton / Getty Images)

In one case, the report found that the United States, which produces around 11% of greenhouse gases, exports significant amounts of its oil, gas and coal production, meaning that emissions don’t not appear in the US inventory although they are added to the world total.

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The report found that U.S. oil and gas production will increase to 17% and 12%, respectively, by 2030 from 2019 levels.

Officials therefore urged governments to cut production and halt plans to increase production for the remainder of the decade.

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“There is still time to limit long-term warming to 1.5 degrees Celsius, but that window of opportunity is closing quickly,” said agency executive director Inger Andersen, adding that governments should be careful. pledge to close the gap at the Glasgow climate summit.

The goal of limiting the rise in global temperature to less than 1.5 degrees Celsius (2.7 degrees Fahrenheit) was set by the 2015 Paris climate agreement. A less ambitious target of capping global warming to 2 degrees by the end of the century would be difficult with the growing production gap.

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Costa Rica and Denmark plan to launch a new group at the October 31 climate summit in Glasgow. The Beyond Oil and Gas Alliance would encourage efforts to dramatically reduce production to meet targets.

“We have to cut with both hands of the scissors, simultaneously meeting the demand for and the supply of fossil fuels,” said Costa Rican Environment and Energy Minister Andrea Meza.

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The study was carried out by 40 researchers who looked at 15 major fossil fuel-producing countries.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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