Oil giants told to cut production by third to meet Paris goals

1st November 2019


Web oil gas end istock 832606426

Related Topics

Related tags

  • sea ice loss ,
  • Fossil fuels ,
  • Global

Author

Susan Zappala

Oil and gas majors will need to cut their combined production by 35% if they are to align with the Paris Agreement's goals by 2040, a study by Carbon Tracker has uncovered.

In a report published today, the NGO said that there is “very little headroom“ for new fossil fuel projects because there are already enough planned to nearly meet demand in a 1.6ÀöC world.

It also found that none of the major oil and gas companies' emission targets are aligned with the Paris Agreement, despite public statements to the contrary.

ConocoPhilips faces a production cut of 85% if it is to align with the climate goals by 2040 – the largest output reduction of the firms studied – while ExxonMobil, the biggest oil major, needs a cut of 55%.

The industry is trying to have its cake and eat it – reassuring shareholders and appearing supportive of Paris, while still producing more fossil fuels, said report author, Mike Coffin, said.

“If companies and governments attempt to develop all their oil and gas reserves, either the world will miss its climate targets or assets will become 'stranded' in the energy transition, or both.“

Carbon Tracker analysed current and future oil and gas projects to identify which would be economical in a 1.6ÀöC world using the International Energy Agency's Beyond 2 Degrees Scenario (B2DS).

It found that Shell's portfolio is most aligned with the Paris Agreement, but that it still needs a production cut of 10% by 2040. Eni, Chevron, Total and BP require reductions of 40%, 35%, 35% and 25% respectively.

The analysis also factors in a relative shift from oil to gas, with average absolute carbon emissions reductions of 40% by 2040 required by the majors to stay within budgets.

Only Shell, Total and Repsol have targets that include scope 3 emissions created by burning their products, but even they have only pledged to reduce the carbon intensity of the energy produced, not overall production.

The findings come after the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate change warned that total carbon budgets to limit global temperature rises to 1.5ÀöC and 1.75 will be exceeded in 13 years and 24 years respectively under current trends.

Most fossil fuels must remain in the ground, yet companies and governments that grant them their licences are still intent on expansion, said Carbon Tracker founder, Mark Campanale.

It is now more urgent than ever that shareholders promote, then support, plans for the oil and gas sector to manage rapid decline in production.“

Image credit: ©iStock

Subscribe

Subscribe to IEMA's newsletters to receive timely articles, expert opinions, event announcements, and much more, directly in your inbox.


Transform articles

A social conscience

With a Taskforce on Inequality and Social-related Financial Disclosures in the pipeline, Beth Knight talks to Chris Seekings about increased recognition of social sustainability

6th June 2024

Read more

Disinformation about the impossibility of averting the climate crisis is part of an alarming turn in denialist tactics, writes David Burrows

6th June 2024

Read more

David Symons, FIEMA, director of sustainability at WSP, and IEMA’s Lesley Wilson, tell Chris Seekings why a growing number of organisations are turning to nature-based solutions to meet their climate goals

6th June 2024

Read more

A system-level review is needed to deliver a large-scale programme of retrofit for existing buildings. Failure to do so will risk missing net-zero targets, argues Amanda Williams

31st May 2024

Read more

Chris Seekings reports from a webinar helping sustainability professionals to use standards effectively

31st May 2024

Read more

Although many organisations focus on scope 1 and 2 emissions, it is vital to factor in scope 3 emissions and use their footprint to drive business change

31st May 2024

Read more

IEMA submits response to the Future Homes Standard consultation

31st May 2024

Read more

What is the role for nature in the Climate Change Act? Sophie Mairesse reports

20th May 2024

Read more

Media enquires

Looking for an expert to speak at an event or comment on an item in the news?

Find an expert

IEMA Cookie Notice

Clicking the ‘Accept all’ button means you are accepting analytics and third-party cookies. Our website uses necessary cookies which are required in order to make our website work. In addition to these, we use analytics and third-party cookies to optimise site functionality and give you the best possible experience. To control which cookies are set, click ‘Settings’. To learn more about cookies, how we use them on our website and how to change your cookie settings please view our cookie policy.

Manage cookie settings

Our use of cookies

You can learn more detailed information in our cookie policy.

Some cookies are essential, but non-essential cookies help us to improve the experience on our site by providing insights into how the site is being used. To maintain privacy management, this relies on cookie identifiers. Resetting or deleting your browser cookies will reset these preferences.

Essential cookies

These are cookies that are required for the operation of our website. They include, for example, cookies that enable you to log into secure areas of our website.

Analytics cookies

These cookies allow us to recognise and count the number of visitors to our website and to see how visitors move around our website when they are using it. This helps us to improve the way our website works.

Advertising cookies

These cookies allow us to tailor advertising to you based on your interests. If you do not accept these cookies, you will still see adverts, but these will be more generic.

Save and close