There is a growing consensus that, to align with the Paris goals, coal must be phased out from power generation (its most significant use) by 2030 in developed countries and by 2040 or 2050 in developing countries. But what about oil and gas? The International Institute for Sustainable Development (IISD) commissioned the Tyndall Centre at The University of Manchester to research Paris-aligned phaseout pathways for oil and gas production in different countries.
The report, by Professor Kevin Anderson, a leading researcher at the Tyndall Centre for Climate Change Research, and Dr. Dan Calverley, warns that there is no room for any nation to increase production; instead, all will have to make significant cuts this decade.
The Paris Agreement requires that countries must act according to their common but differentiated responsibilities and respective capabilities, meaning that developed countries must act first and fastest to mitigate emissions and must provide financial and other support to enable developing countries to mitigate. This report starts with carbon budgets published by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) and shares them among countries, in proportion to their ability to fund and enable a just transition for fossil fuel-dependent workers and communities.
Taking into account countries’ differing levels of wealth, development, and economic reliance on fossil fuels, the report says the wealthiest countries—which produce over a third of the world’s oil and gas—must cut output by 74% by 2030 and end oil and gas production by 2034. This action will keep the world on track for 1.5°C and give poorer nations longer to replace their income from fossil fuel production.
The poorest nations should be given until 2050 to end production, but they will also need significant financial support to transition their economies. However, even these countries must cut back by 14% by 2030, compared to today’s production.
These challenging timelines arise because the 1.5°C carbon budget is smaller than many people realize. Furthermore, differentiated timelines deliver equity on their own. Significant financial transfers from the Global North to the Global South are prerequisites for delivering a fair phaseout schedule.
The report is available here.