Studies Show Fossil Fuel Phase-outs Needed at COP28

New reports have emphasised the need for action at COP28 to phase-out use of fossil fuels to maintain policymakers’ stated objective of limiting climate change to 1.5°C. Net Zero Tracker’s first global benchmark, which analysed the net zero pledges of 1,525 governments and companies, found that just 13% of countries had at least one phase-out commitment relating to exploration, production or use of coal, oil or gas. Firms representing 18% of the combined revenue of the world’s largest listed companies have a full or partial phase-out pledge, relating to either exploration, production or use of coal, oil and/or gas. Net Zero Tracker said national net zero pledges should align with UN-backed recommendations to include specific phase-out targets. A separate report by the Civil Society Equity Review included science- and equity-based dates by which countries should end coal, oil and gas extraction to limit warming to 1.5°C. It said the least-dependent fossil fuel producing countries should phase out extraction by the early 2030s – setting a 2031 date for the USA, UK, Australia, Germany and Canada – while poorer countries which are highly dependent on fossil-fuel related revenue and jobs can take until 2050. The latest Global Carbon Budget report found that CO2 emissions from fossil fuels will be 1.1% higher than in 2022, and estimated a 50% chance that global warming will exceed 1.5°C consistently in seven years. Professor Pierre Friedlingstein, of Exeter’s Global Systems Institute, who led the study, said COP28 leaders must agree rapid cuts in fossil fuel emissions “even to keep the 2°C target alive”. NGOs BankTrack, LINGO, Reclaim Finance, and Urgewald reported that the Abu Dhabi National Oil Company, led by COP28 President Sultan Al Jaber, intends to increase oil production by 25% by 2030, the fifth largest oil and gas expansion plans globally.

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