A growing group of countries moving to phase out oil and gas production may be about to deliver the “next big step in climate policy,” Climate News Network reports, citing a new study in the journal Nature Climate Change that will be presented to delegates during this year’s United Nations climate change conference (COP 24) in Katowice, Poland.
“Countries like France, New Zealand, Costa Rica, Belize and—just last week—Spain are sending a clear signal by phasing out oil production,” said study co-author Georgia Piggot, a sociologist with the Stockholm Environment Institute (SEI). “The fossil fuel era needs to end soon, and governments need to have clear plans in place to ensure an orderly and fair transition.”
The study looks to California as the next jurisdiction that might be ready to commit, citing a California Air Resources Board resolution to “evaluate and explore” reducing the production of petroleum.
“Gradually phasing down oil production is a reasonable approach to reducing greenhouse gas emissions,” said lead author and SEI Senior Scientist Peter Erickson. “California is one of the top oil-producing states in the U.S., but it is also a climate leader. Restricting oil production would complement the state’s flagship policies, such as strengthened standards for clean power or energy efficiency.”
And for other jurisdictions that want to show climate leadership, the study points to “a number of policy options that can limit future production of oil and other fossil fuels, while delivering important global emissions and local environmental benefits.”
The study was guided by the scenarios in the IPCC’s recent landmark study on pathways to 1.5°C average global warming, Erickson told Climate News Network.
“The median results of those scenarios suggest that global oil production (and consumption) needs to decline more than 40% between 2020 and 2030 to meet a 1.5°C target, global coal production (and consumption) more than 80%, and global gas production (and consumption) by more than 40%,” he wrote. “These declines could be accomplished most effectively with both demand- and supply-side measures. That is our central point—that limiting fossil fuel production is an important complement to limiting demand.”