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Why fossil fuel reduction targets should be part of every climate plan, according to SEI’s Ploy Achakulwisut

Alongside the launch of the 2023 Production Gap Report, which found that governments plan to produce more than double the fossil fuels in 2030 than would be consistent with limiting warming to 1.5°C, SEI Research Fellow Ploy Achakulwisut writes in Context why omitting fossil fuel reduction from climate plans “is like trying to drive with the rearview mirror missing.”

Published on 8 November 2023

Fundamentally, it is energy that is central to the fabric of our society, not fossil fuels.

Ploy Achakulwisut, SEI Research Fellow

Despite 151 governments making net zero pledges, a look at governments’ own plans and projections for fossil fuel production reveals a forecasted increase in global coal production until 2030, and in global oil and gas production until at least 2050, creating an ever-widening gap between the fossil fuels the world produces and the level needed to limit global warming to 1.5°C or even 2°C.

That’s why, in addition to ramping up renewable energy, governments must also initiate a corresponding phase-down in fossil fuel production, Achakulwisut says.

Aerial view over a turquoise sea where an oil tanker passes beneath a sling bridge.

Oil tankers sail at high speed beneath a large sling bridge across the sea

Wachirawit Jenlohakit / Getty Images

She explains how continued fossil fuel production contributes to lost return investments in the industry and delays the necessary transition away from fossil fuels. Climate crises across the globe call for a reckoning with the world’s fossil fuel addiction at COP28 and beyond, she says, reinforcing that while the world requires energy, it does not require fossil fuels.

More on the Production Gap

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