Climate Change

Reality of energy transition: fossil fuel production to grow at least until 2040

Fossil fuel production grow until 2040

Photo: Elise Aldram from Pixabay


October 20, 2021






October 20, 2021





Despite the targets from the Paris Agreement and their commitments to reach net zero emissions, fossil fuel producers are on track to significantly boost output in the next 20 years, the Production Gap Report reveals.

According to the new Production Gap Report, plans and projections for fossil fuel production show the volumes would be increased by 2030, except for a slight decline in coal. Instead of working on climate goals from the 2015 Paris Agreement, the governments will allow companies to churn out 110% more than the limit for holding global warming at a maximum of 1.5 degrees Celsius, and 45% more than consistent with two degrees.

The excess actually grows by 2040 to reach 190% and 89%, respectively. The document was produced by 40 experts from universities, think tanks and research institutions, and the United Nations Environment Programme – UNEP.

Governments keep subsidizing fossil fuels

The biggest fossil fuel producers are Australia, Brazil, Canada, China, Germany, India, Indonesia, Mexico, Norway, Russia, Saudi Arabia, South Africa, United Arab Emirates, the United Kingdom and United States. The report shows most of them continue to provide significant policy support for fossil fuel production through measures like tax breaks, finance, direct infrastructure investments and exemptions from environmental requirements.

G20 countries keep allocating more funds for fossil fuels than for green energy, though the group and multilateral development banks are cutting international public finance for the purpose

The group together accounted for 77% of extraction-based CO2 emissions in 2019. Most major oil- and gas-producing countries are planning on expanding production.

The governments of the member states of the Group of Twenty have committed nearly USD 300 billion toward fossil fuel activities since the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic – more than they have toward clean energy. In contrast, international public finance for the production of fossil fuels from G20 countries and major multilateral development banks has significantly decreased in recent years.

Reality energy transition fossil fuel production grow 2040

Strong boost expected for gas production

According to the estimate, global output of coal, oil and natural gas in 2030 will be 240%, 57% and 71% higher, respectively, than the level consistent with limiting global warming to 1.5 degrees by the end of the century. Between 2020 and 2040 gas production is projected to increase more than oil while coal is seen declining slightly.

Coal production is projected to be 3.4 times higher in 2030 than the level consistent with limiting global warming to 1.5 degrees Celsius by the end of the century

Recent announcements by the world’s largest economies to end international financing of coal are a much-needed step in phasing out fossil fuels, United Nations Secretary-General António Guterres said. “But, as this report starkly shows, there is still a long way to go to a clean energy future. It is urgent that all remaining public financiers as well as private finance, including commercial banks and asset managers, switch their funding from coal to renewables to promote full decarbonization of the power sector and access to renewable energy for all.”

Energy transition fossil fuel production grow 2040

The report was issued just days before the start of the 2021 UN Climate Change Conference COP26 in Glasgow, where world leaders are set to discuss increasing ambitions for mitigating climate change.

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