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Closing the gap between Paris goals and fossil fuel production

It is time to get serious about supply-side climate policies. A conference organized by SEI offered perspectives from around the world, and several concrete ideas for how to move forward.

Michael Lazarus, Harro van Asselt / Published on 14 October 2016
A freight train loaded with coal in India.
A freight train loaded with coal in India. Photo: Smeet Chowdhury / Flickr.

The speed with which world leaders ratified the Paris Agreement shows there is a real momentum to tackle climate change. Yet investment in fossil fuel extraction continues unabated, at about US$1 trillion per year.

How can we keep warming well below 2°C (much less 1.5C°) while continuing to produce ever-more coal, oil and gas? For many years, policy-makers have mostly ignored that question, focusing climate change mitigation measures almost entirely on fossil fuel consumption.

Now attention is increasingly turning to fossil fuel supply and the disconnect between producers’ ambitions and climate goals. Late last month in Oxford, we gathered more than 100 leading thinkers from academia, civil society, and business to discuss the way forward.

We focused on three overarching themes: the risks of continued investment in fossil fuel production; the role of supply-side policies in mitigating these risks; and the political and equity challenges of a transition away from fossil fuel production.

The discussions underscored the large gap between plans for new coal mines, oil rigs and pipelines, and the goals of the Paris Agreement.

Source: Climate Home, UK

Written by

Michael Lazarus
Michael Lazarus

Center Director


Profile picture of Harro van Asselt
Harro van Asselt

SEI Affiliated Researcher


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