Climate Home Acting Editor Megan Darby moderated this online event, which brought together researchers, and government and UN officials to preview emerging findings from the 2020 Production Gap Report.
The Production Gap Report was first published in 2019 by leading research institutions and the UN Environment Programme. It highlights the alarming discrepancy between plans for coal, oil, and gas production and levels consistent with Paris goals. A 2020 special issue will speak to major changes in energy markets and government responses to the COVID-19 pandemic to shore up, expand, or transition oil, gas, and coal industries.
In this online event, panellists explored what these changes might mean for the production gap, and how a managed and equitable transition away from fossil fuel production can contribute to a sustainable, just, and resilient recovery.
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The event was hosted by SEI, the International Institute for Sustainable Development, the Overseas Development Institute, and the UN Environment Programme, in partnership with Climate Home News.
The panellists were:
- Adam Matthews, Co-Chair, Transition Pathway Initiative
- Andrea Meza, Director, Climate Change Directorate (DCC), Costa Rica Ministry of Environment and Energy
- Ivetta Gerasimchuk, Sustainable Energy Supplies Lead, IISD
- Michael Lazarus, Center Director, SEI US
- Niklas Hagelberg, Coordinator, Sub-Programme on Climate Change, UNEP
“What we see right now is pretty much what countries did before the COVID crisis, they keep doing. In this sense the crisis we have at hand has just exacerbated the trends that existed before, unfortunately.... The overall trend on both the consumption and production side of fossil fuels is there is more money going into fossil fuels than into clean energy.”
— Ivetta Gerasimchuk, Sustainable Energy Supplies Lead, IISD
“All the time, we’re making decisions on what is our development path and which is the kind of development that we want. [We need to have] a big discussion on which is the kind of economic activities that can generate more jobs, but at the same time can generate more welfare and can generate more health. And normally, when you put all these elements together, you realize that it’s not the fossil fuel industry. ”
— Andrea Meza, Director, Climate Change Directorate (DCC), Costa Rica Ministry of Environment and Energy
“It does seem the fossil fuel sector and funding for it is greatly outpacing that for clean energy and that risks that lock-in of a high carbon development pathway that is sort of the opposite of building back better. This moment right now presents us with a critical opportunity to turn this around. Clean energy paths around the world are proving themselves to be more resilient, less costly, more dynamic engines of jobs, prosperity and well-being.”
— Michael Lazarus, Center Director, SEI US
“You’ve got now this huge impact of the COVID pandemic that is significantly reshaping demand for the oil and gas sector and there could be two reactions to that. One is that you just carry on and try and sort of ride it out. Or you can see this as a moment to actually drive a faster transition. So far, you’ve seen some of the Europeans acknowledge that this is the moment they need to go further and faster, and investors are playing a role of encouraging that.”
— Adam Matthews, Co-Chair, Transition Pathway Initiative
“Fossil fuel subsidies are a key drain on government public resources, so by focusing on removing these unnecessary fossil fuel subsidies, there can be more resources to invest into the decarbonization itself, but also into health related issues now under the COVID-19 situation.”
— Niklas Hagelberg, Coordinator, Sub-Programme on Climate Change, UNEP