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The Need to wind down (and eliminate) Fossil Fuel Production

The Production Gap

The production gap is the discrepancy between national plans and projections for fossil fuel production and global production levels that correspond to 1.5° or 2°C pathways. A new report, to be released in November 2019, will measure this gap — and equip decision-makers with a resource on how to better align production with climate goals.

Countries must significantly reduce their emissions to meet Paris Agreement goals. Current climate pledges will only limit global warming to 3°C above preindustrial levels; the UNEP Emissions Gap Report estimates that countries need to triple their emission reduction pledges to limit warming to the Paris goal of “well below” 2°C and increase reductions fivefold for a 1.5°C scenario.

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This emissions gap is related to – and widened by – the “production gap.” Countries continue to expand the production of coal, oil, and gas, creating a significant gap between that expansion and the limits of a 1.5°C or 2°C carbon budget. This gap stymies climate ambitions by locking in fossil fuel infrastructure that will make emission reductions harder to achieve.

A new Production Gap Report – set for release in November 2019 – will equip decision-makers with a resource on how to better align production with climate objectives. It will show how current national plans, projections, and policies would significantly increase fossil fuel production, and could undermine countries’ emission reduction plans.

The report will provide a reference point to measure progress, simply presenting the divergence between the current course of global fossil fuel production and Paris-consistent futures.

As the UN Secretary General calls on governments to stop building new coal plants, emerging research shows that countries are on track to produce far more coal, oil, and gas by 2030 than would be consistent with Paris Agreement goals. 


This brief explains the importance of closing the production gap, includes a few preliminary findings from the upcoming Production Gap Report, and outlines how countries can keep fossil fuel production in line with climate goals.

Source: The Production Gap

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