Climate Change

Leaked papers reveal major pushback against fossil fuel phaseout

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Published

October 22, 2021

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Published:

October 22, 2021

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A group of countries that produce large amounts of oil, coal, beef, and animal feed have been lobbying the International Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) to soften the wording of its upcoming assessment of the ways to limit global warming. These countries want the IPCC to remove recommendations that call for an urgent fossil fuel phaseout and a meat consumption cut, according to a trove of leaked documents seen by Unearthed, an environmental journalism project run by Greenpeace UK.

In a recent report, the IPCC warned it could soon be too late for the world to keep the increase in global temperatures at no more than 1.5 degrees Celsius without drastic climate action. The leaked documents refer to the part of the upcoming Sixth Assessment Report that deals with climate change mitigation options.

The draft of the Sixth Assessment Report states that the 1.5°C scenario requires shutting down or overhauling existing coal- and natural gas-fired power plants within the next 10 and 12 years respectively, without opening new ones.

Saudi Arabia, Australia, and OPEC are pushing back against a rapid fossil fuel phaseout

The countries lobbying against a rapid fossil-fuel phaseout are Saudi Arabia, Iran, and the other Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC), as well as Australia and Japan, while those pushing back against a shift towards plant-based diets include Brazil and Argentina, according to the leak, which comes less than two weeks before the kick-off of the UN climate conference COP26 in Glasgow.

Fossil fuel producers want the IPCC to acknowledge to role of carbon capture technology in combating climate change

The fossil fuel producing nations are calling on the IPCC to acknowledge the role that carbon capture technology could theoretically play in reducing the climate impact of fossil fuels, Unearthed wrote, noting that “there is currently only one power station in operation in the world that successfully captures some of its carbon emissions.”

Also, an expert quoted by Unearthed says that there is no scientific evidence that humanity can rely on carbon capture and storage (CCS) or objective information to suggest this is a well-proven, functioning, and affordable technology.

Brazil and Argentina oppose drive to curb meat, dairy consumption

On the issue of animal farming as a driver of climate change, Brazil and Argentina, two of the world’s biggest producers of beef and animal feed crops, want the IPCC to remove or water down its recommendations to reduce greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions by curbing the consumption of meat and dairy products on a global scale.

Unearthed cited an earlier report by the IPCC, which claims that meat, particularly beef, is “the single food with the greatest impact on the environment.”

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