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UN report estimates fossil fuel production will continue to rise well past 2030

Cumulatively, across all 20 countries, fossil fuel production levels in 2030 are 460% higher for coal, 29% higher for oil and 82% higher for gas.

Published: November 8, 2023 1:09pm

Updated: November 8, 2023 3:42pm

Oil-producing nations appear to be disregarding international agreements on emission-reduction targets in favor of increased fossil fuel production, according to a new United Nations report.

The “Production Gap Report” finds that governments’ production plans combined are double the amount of oil, gas and coal output than the maximum amounts allowed to reach emission reductions as laid out in the Paris Agreement.

The agreement is an international treaty aimed at limiting global warming to 1.5 degrees Celsius above what was produced prior to about 1900.

The UN report looks at the government plans and projections for the change in fossil fuel production over 2021 levels of the Top-20 energy-producing countries.

The countries include the United States, Canada, China, Germany, Norway and many OPEC countries.

By 2030, the U.S. plans to decrease its coal production by 5.1 exajoules, which is a measurement of large amounts of energy used in describing national energy budgets. Australia, India, Columbia, Indonesia, and Russia, however, will increase their total coal production by 18.3 exajoules by 2030.

Oil production in the U.S. is planned to rise by 5.2 exajoules by 2030, and gas production is planned to increase by 2.5 exajoules, according to the report.

Cumulatively across all 20 countries examined in the report, increases estimated under the government plans and projections would lead to production levels in 2030 that are 460% higher for coal — which needed to be at near zero to reach emission reduction targets by 2030 — 29% higher for oil, and 82% higher for gas.

The UN report conflicts with an International Energy Agency (IEA) report released in October that predicts oil demand will peak prior to 2030, in response to changing energy demand.

Critics of the IEA report, which included OPEC, pointed out that major oil companies across the world are engaging in mergers and acquisitions, as well as planned increases in production.

In the U.S. major oil companies, such as Chevron and Exxon Mobil, are engaged in billion-dollar acquisition deals, as are companies in Canada.

Meanwhile, financial problems in the offshore wind industry and the electric vehicle industry are throwing up roadblocks in the path to the energy transition.

According to the data in the UN report, peak oil won’t be seen within the time frame estimated by the IEA.