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20 October 2021

How the world is on course for failure on climate change

Current government plans will see vastly more fossil fuel produced than is required for a 1.5°C limit.

By Patrick Scott

The world is on course to produce a significantly larger amount of fossil fuel than is consistent with the Paris Agreement, according to a UN Environment Programme (Unep) report.

Based on current plans by governments across the world, global fossil fuel production will rise from 34 to 37 billion tonnes of CO2 annually between 2020 and 2030. This means that, by 2030, production levels are set to be 105 per cent higher than the amount required to keep global warming to 1.5°C above pre-industrial levels.

The report is published with the COP26 climate summit in Glasgow less than two weeks away, and highlights the scale of the task that needs to be achieved there in order to hit warming targets.

“The devastating impacts of climate change are here for all to see. There is still time to limit long-term warming to 1.5°C, but this window of opportunity is rapidly closing,” said Inger Andersen, executive director of Unep. “At COP26 and beyond, the world’s governments must step up, taking rapid and immediate steps to close the fossil fuel production gap and ensure a just and equitable transition. This is what climate ambition looks like.”