Metal left over from the drilling of a well in the tundra, including barrels, cylinders and chisel balls

Metal left over from the drilling of a well in the tundra, including barrels, cylinders and chisel balls. Photo: lyash01 / Getty Images .

The need for a managed transition away from fossil fuel production raises the question of whether and how countries are addressing this need in their national communications to the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC). A 2019 analysis of the first round of nationally determined contributions (NDCs) and long-term low-emissions development strategies (LT-LEDS) found that few countries discussed how they would address fossil fuel production as part of their climate mitigation activities.

This update examines new and updated NDCs and LT-LEDS, and finds a growing number of NDCs and LT-LEDS that address fossil fuel production as part of mitigation. For the first time, several countries are incorporating policies and/or pathways for a managed decline of fossil fuel production. In contrast, many others foresee continued or expanded fossil fuel production, with no mention of efforts to prepare for a transition.

Opportunities remain for countries to make better use of NDCs and LT-LEDS to align fossil fuel production with the Paris Agreement, including more comprehensively reflecting on the equity implications of their plans, as well as addressing how countries plan to diversify their economies, ensure a just transition for workers and cooperate internationally on a managed wind-down of fossil fuel supply. As COP26 approaches, this window of opportunity is still open, but it is rapidly closing.