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The Production Gap: The discrepancy between countries’ planned fossil fuel production and global production levels consistent with limiting warming to 1.5°C or 2°C

Key Messages

  • Governments are planning to produce about 50% more fossil fuels by 2030 than would be consistent with a 2°C pathway and 120% more than would be consistent with a 1.5°C pathway.
  • These planned levels of fossil fuel production are also inconsistent with the collective climate pledges under the Paris Agreement. As a consequence, the global production gap is even larger than the already-significant global emissions gap.
  • The continued expansion of fossil fuel productionand the widening of the global production gapis underpinned by a combination of ambitious national plans, government subsidies to producers, and other forms of public finance.
  • Several governments have already adopted policies to restrict fossil fuel production, providing momentum and important lessons for broader adoption.
  • International cooperation plays a central role in winding down fossil fuel production.

This report addresses the necessary winding down of the world’s production of fossil fuels in order to meet climate goals. Though coal, oil, and gas are the central drivers of climate change, they are rarely the subject of international climate policy and negotiations. This report aims to expand that discourse and provide a metric for assessing how far the world is from production levels that are consistent with global climate goals.

Specifically, this first Production Gap Report assesses the discrepancy between government plans for fossil fuel production and global production levels consistent with 1.5°C and 2°C pathways. This production gap tells us the magnitude of the challenge.

The report reviews, across 10 fossil-fuel-producing countries, the policies and actions that expand fossil fuel production and, in turn, widen the gap. It also provides policy options that can help countries better align production with climate goals. This is especially relevant over the next year, as countries prepare new or updated nationally determined contributions (NDCs), which set out their new emission reduction plans and climate pledges under the Paris Agreement.

This report is a product of collaboration among SEI, IISD, ODI, Climate Analytics, CICERO and UNEP. 

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