Climate warning
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United Nations

Climate warning

Nearly half of national climate pledges (NDCs) intend to keep extracting fossil fuels

Nationally Determined Contributions” (NDCs) are a nation’s published plans to reduce emissions and adapt to the impacts of climate change. Natalie Jones at the IISD, writing for Carbon Brief, summarises her co-authored study that reviews the fossil fuel production element of those NDCs. Nations are obliged to update their NDCs every five years, to give more detail. That added detail is a cause for concern in the latest round of NDCs: there is an increase in countries communicating plans to maintain or increase production rather than phase it out. This goes against the fact that oil and gas production needs to decline by at least 65% by 2050 in scenarios that limit warming to 1.5C. This clear contradiction exposes a lack of transition planning for the economic diversification and disruption that fossil fuel reduction will entail for those nations. The problem needs to be addressed urgently, not least through further international collaboration and, in particular, support for developing nations, says Jones. One consolation is that the NDCs are doing their job of making the challenges more transparent, even when the news is not good.

According to the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, the production and use of fossil fuels must be “greatly reduced” to keep warming below 1.5C.

While countries have so far failed to agree on a collective goal to phase fossil fuels “down” or “out”, the Paris Agreement gives individual nations space to plot their own path.

In a new study, published by the Stockholm Environment Institute, my colleagues and I explore how countries discuss fossil fuel production in their official Paris climate pledges.

We found that more and more countries are discussing the production of fossil fuels in their “nationally determined contributions” (NDCs).

The topic is mentioned in two-thirds of fossil fuel-producing countries’ second-round NDCs, an increase on the first iteration, highlighting the increased discussion around the topic.

But we observe that while a few countries are reporting on measures to phase out fossil fuel production, nearly half of second-round NDCs included plans to maintain or even increase fossil fuel production.

Here, we take a closer look at the growing discussion of fossil fuel production in NDCs and “long-term low emissions development strategies” (LT-LEDS), the significance of their inclusion and how governments could build in targets and pathways for winding down production as we look to the next NDC cycl

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  • Sarah Chabane

    50 w

    The UN should be way harsher when it comes to setting NDCs, hopefully the next COP could work in this direction

    • George Kariuki

      50 w

      Encouraging countries to revise their NDCs to include ambitious targets for reducing fossil fuel production and promoting clean energy investments will be vital in tackling the climate crisis effectively.

      • Komu Daniel

        50 w

        This is a shocking revelation

        • Munene Mugambi

          50 w

          This has to stop

          • Sandra Harris

            50 w

            I got a little emotional reading this. 'Growing' the economy and increasing fossil-fuel extraction is a death sentence. 'They' count on our our consumption and compliance. I think about my and your children and grandchildren. I can't imagine their futures... if there will be a future. This is insanity.

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