This year, we have witnessed a flurry of major announcements from countries, fossil fuel companies and financial institutions about the expansion of oil and gas production. These plans have been accompanied by reassurances that they will not undermine net zero and Paris Agreement pledges.
• Can oil and gas expansion co-exist with a net zero by 2050 pathway?
• How can a Just Transition enable the implementation of credible net zero pledges and a progressive oil and gas phase-out?
• What is the role of developed economies like the US and North Sea countries in spearheading the transition?
At this event hosted by Oil and Gas Transitions (OGT), we hear from leading researchers and experts from the US, Norway, Denmark, the UK and others, about the realities and implications of these plans and how Just Transitions can help closing the ambition gap between climate policies and implementation. Background: In January, Norway offered 47 new licenses on the Norwegian continental shelf and plans a record high number of exploration blocks in vulnerable Arctic areas. In July, the UK announced big expansion plans for North Sea oil and gas, with at least 100 new licenses to be issued. In the US, despite positives like the Inflation Reduction Act, the Biden Administration approved major oil and gas projects which reassert the country’s position as a top producer and exporter. Even the UAE, host of this year’s COP28, has the third biggest plans for oil and gas expansion in the world, only surpassed by Saudi Arabia and Qatar. And since the Paris Agreement, the largest global banks have provided 5.5 trillion USD in fossil fuel financing, 49 of which also have net zero commitments. In the meantime, the UN Secretary General has stated that the world must phase out fossil fuels in a just and equitable way, “moving to leave oil, coal and gas in the ground where they belong”.
The IEA has warned that to remain below 1.5°C global warming, a sharp decline in fossil fuel demand means that no new oil and gas fields must be added, and unabated coal and oil power plants must be phased out by 2040. The new UN Acceleration Agenda goes even further in establishing a progressive global phase-out of existing oil and gas production compatible with net zero emissions by 2050. Who is telling the truth? The science is clear. There is no room for oil and gas expansion to limit global warming to 1.5°C. And yet, as the 2021 Production Gap report showed, Governments are in aggregate planning to produce more than double the amount of fossil fuels in 2030 than what would be consistent with limiting warming to 1.5°C.
Calls for decisive ambition and action are mounting amid growing climate-risks and geopolitical instability. But the notion of an oil and gas phase out remains a space for dissent and a politically sensible topic. Managed and inclusive Just Transitions can accelerate collective progress by creating enabling environments for an upward spiral of ambition and implementation. Led by Climate Strategies and SEI, our Oil and Gas Transitions (OGT) programme is addressing this challenge by co-creating evidence-based just transition pathways for oil and gas. Join us at Climate Week NYC to explore:
• Lessons from OGT pathways to net zero and phase out in the North Sea from leading researchers
• The role of developed economies like the US, Norway, Denmark and the UK;
• Evidence from the Production Gap Report series and related analyses on global oil and gas reduction pathways consistent with limiting warming to 1.5°C;
• Overcoming resistance through participatory processes and transformation narratives;
• Opportunities to harness emerging momentum, including the UN Acceleration Agenda and upcoming COP28.