Rich countries must exit oil production first, new climate report states

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Phase-out Pathways for Fossil Fuel Production – a 77-page analysis commissioned by an independent think tank, has determined that rich countries such as the United States of America (USA), Norway, and Saudi Arabia must exit oil production first to keep the world on track towards a 1.5°C pathway.

The report which was commissioned by the International Institute for Sustainable Development (IISD) also states that poorer nations must be allowed a longer period to replace their income from fossil fuel production.

The document proposes different phase-out dates for oil- and gas-producing countries in line with the Paris Agreement’s goals and commitment to a fair transition. Taking into account countries’ differing levels of wealth, development and economic reliance on fossil fuels, it says the poor nations should be given until 2050 to end production but will also need significant financial support to transition their economies.

The report which was authored by Professor Kevin Anderson, a leading scientist and researcher at the Tyndall Centre for Climate Change Research, and Dr Dan Calverley, warns that the richest states which produce over a third of the world’s oil and gas, must cut output by 74% by 2030; and the poorest, which supply just one-ninth of global demand, must cut back by 14%.

The report also quantifies how much future production is consistent with the Paris Agreement climate targets and what this implies for the 88 countries responsible for 99.97% of all oil and gas supply. It sets viable phase-out pathways for five different groups of countries based on their differing capacities to make a rapid and just transition away from fossil fuels.

For a 50% chance of limiting the global temperature rise to 1.5°C, it finds that 19 Highest-Capacity countries, with average non-oil gross domestic product per person (GDP/capita) of over US$50,000, must end production by 2034, with a 74% cut by 2030. This group produces 35% of global oil and gas and includes the United Kingdom (UK), USA, Norway, Canada, Australia and the United Arab Emirates.

It stated that 4 High-Capacity countries, with average non-oil GDP/capita of nearly US$28,000, must end production by 2039, with a 43% cut by 2030. They produce 30% of global oil and gas and include Saudi Arabia, Kuwait and Kazakhstan.

It further outlines that 11 Medium-Capacity countries, with average non-oil GDP/capita of US$17,000, must end production by 2043, with a 28% cut by 2030. They produce 11% of global oil and gas and include China, Brazil and Mexico.

It goes on to state that 19 Low-Capacity countries, with average non-oil GDP/capita of US$10,000, must end production by 2045, with an 18% cut by 2030. They produce 13% of global oil and gas and include Indonesia, Iran and Egypt.

Additionally, 25 Lowest-Capacity countries, with average non-oil GDP/capita of US$3,600, must end production by 2050 with a 14% cut by 2030. They produce 11% of global oil and gas and include Iraq, Libya, Angola and South Sudan.

A flagship report from the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) warned last month that failing to limit global warming to 1.5°C would have devastating global impacts. The UN Secretary-General Antόnio Guterres also described it as “an atlas of human suffering and a damning indictment of failed climate leadership.” IPCC believes that at current levels of emissions, the world will exceed 1.5°C as early as 2030 to 2035.

Authorities in Guyana, where ExxonMobil has so far found more than 10 billion barrels of oil equivalent, have made it clear that the South American nation has a right to develop its hydrocarbon resources to the benefit of its people. The country is moving forward with rapid development of the offshore oil fields which, according to Rystad Energy, will catapult it to the number two position for deepwater production in the 2030s.


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