Despite pledges by 151 national governments to achieve net-zero emission by phasing out fossil fuels production, the world is set to double its production by 2030. A new report from the UN environment agency (UNEP) has warned that global coal production would continue to increase at least until 2030, while oil and gas production will continue growing until at least 2050, and their demand would peak this decade, even without new policies.
The 2023 Production Gap Report by UNEP has profiled 20 biggest emitter countries, India is also one of them, 17 have pledged to achieve net-zero emission. Many of them have launched initiatives to cut emissions from fossil fuel production activities, however none have committed to reduce coal, oil, and gas production in line with limiting global warming to 1.5 degrees Celsius.
Although at the 26th Conference of the Parties (CoP26) in Glasgow two years ago governments agreed to accelerate efforts towards “the phase down of unabated coal power”, the production and use of fossil fuels has still reached record high levels.
The Report titled “Phasing down or phasing up? Top fossil fuel producers plan even more extraction despite climate promises” finds that governments plan to produce around 110% more fossil fuels in 2030 than would be consistent with limiting warming to 1.5°C, and 69% more than would be consistent with 2°C.The magnitude of the production gap is also projected to grow overtime: by 2050, planned fossil fuel production is 350% and150% above the levels consistent with limiting warming to1.5°C or 2°C, respectively.
The Report provides newly expanded country profiles for 20 major fossil-fuel-producing countries: Australia, Brazil, Canada, China, Colombia, Germany, India, Indonesia, Kazakhstan, Kuwait, Mexico, Nigeria, Norway, Qatar, the Russian Federation, Saudi Arabia, South Africa, the United Arab Emirates, the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland, and the United States of America. Altogether, these countries account for 82% of production and 73% of consumption of the world’s fossil fuel supply. Most of these governments continue to provide significant policy and financial support for fossil fuel production.
The global levels of fossil fuel production implied by governments’ plans and projections, taken together, also exceed those implied by their stated climate mitigation policies and implied by their announced climate pledges as of September 2022, as modelled by the International Energy Agency.
Many major fossil-fuel producing governments are still planning near-term increase in production in coal and long-term increase in production of oil and gas. Such plans would lead to 460%, 29%, and 82% higher production of coal, oil and gas respectively.
India, Indonesia, and the Russian Federation all plan significant increases in coal production through 2023. India seeks self-reliance and views the coal industry as currently being of paramount importance for income and employment generation. India’s NDC objective to achieve net-zero by 2070. However, it has planned to increase coal production by 10.7 per cent annually until 2030. It means India would double its coal production during this decade.
The profile of India included in this report mentions India’s commitment and priorities. India’s NDC submitted in August 2022, pledged a reduction in “the emissions intensity of its GDP” of 45 per cent by 2030, compared to 2005, and an increase in the share of non-fossil power capacity to 50 per cent by 2030.
India’s LT-LEDS, released during COP27, commits it to a low-carbon transition “at a pace and scale that is nationally determined, without compromising development futures”, and that “should not impact energy security, energy access and employment.”
The Ministry of Home Affairs has noted that increasing coal production to make India self-reliant is a priority for the government. It called on mining companies to scale up production and stressed that the government views the coal industry as being integral in generating income for states and creating multiple employment avenues.
In 2022, the Ministry of Finance extended support for coal gasification and incentives for commercial mining, and the Ministry of Coal launched the country’s largest-ever auction of coal-mining blocks. The government also plans to increase domestic oil and gas exploration and production to support growing domestic demand. The government has forecast that demand for gas will grow by over 500% as it seeks to raise the share of gas in the country’s energy mix from 6%to 15% by 2030. The Union Petroleum and Urban Affairs Minister has stated that the country aims to meet 25% of its crude oil demand from domestic production by 2030.
Despite the Government of India’s pursuit of clean energy, including the earmarking of USD 4.3 billion for green energy production in the national budget, it remains committed to fossil fuels, in particular coal, to meet rapidly growing energy needs.
In March 2022, the Ministry of Coal announced plans to increase India’s overall coal production to 1 billion tonnes in fiscal year 2023–2024. The Ministry projects domestic coal production of 1.5 billion tonnes in 2030, more than double the 2021 level, and noted it aims to become a net thermal coal exporter by 2024–2025. India is supporting both domestic and international fossil fuel production.
The reports says that there are additional compelling reasons to strive for an even faster global phase-out of all fossil fuels. Research has found that the committed emissions of CO2 expected to occur over the lifetime of existing fossil-fuel-producing infrastructure already exceed the remaining carbon budget for a 50% chance of limiting warming to 1.5°C by 2100.This implies that no new coal mines and oil and gas fields can be developed unless existing infrastructure is retired early, a task that is hard to achieve in practice.
Moreover, fossil fuel extraction and burning are associated with many near-term and localized non-climatic social, economic, and environmental harms that are rarely accounted for in climate mitigation scenarios. Continued production and use of coal, oil, and gas are not compatible with a safe and liveable future. (IPA Service)