Ending Fossil Fuel Production

Limiting the production of fossil fuels is a key climate solution. But despite a commitment to move to clean energy, many countries are allowing fossil fuel production to continue. These reports outline why a managed decline of fossil fuel production is so important and how to get it done.


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The Production Gap

SEI, IISD, ODI, Climate Analytics, CICERO, and UNEP.

This report addresses the necessary winding down of the world’s production of fossil fuels in order to meet climate goals. Though coal, oil, and gas are the central drivers of climate change, they are rarely the subject of international climate policy and negotiations. This report aims to expand that discourse and provide a metric for assessing how far the world is from production levels that are consistent with global climate goals.

Key Findings:

  1. Governments are planning to produce about 50% more fossil fuels by 2030 than would be consistent with a 2°C pathway and 120% more than would be consistent with a 1.5°C pathway.
  2. This global production gap is even larger than the already-significant global emissions gap, due to minimal policy attention on curbing fossil fuel production.
  3. The continued expansion of fossil fuel production — and the widening of the global production gap — is underpinned by a combination of ambitious national plans, government subsidies to producers, and other forms of public finance.
  4. Several governments have already adopted policies to restrict fossil fuel production, providing momentum and important lessons for broader adoption.
  5. International cooperation plays a central role in winding down fossil fuel production.

DNC’s Bold. Ambitious. Transformative. Report

DNC Environment and Climate Change Council

The DNC reports’ recommendations were the result of a three-month process that included a listening tour and meetings with environmental justice advocates, scientists, public health experts, members of front-line and vulnerable communities, engineers, educators, union members, artists, faith leaders, policy analysts, environmental architects, elected leaders, and environmental lawyers from across America. The recommendations and policies outlined are built upon evidence of projected economic damages from climate change.


  1. Develop and implement a science-based national climate action plan that employs the full palette of policy tools, including aggressive use of executive actions, establishment of new structures and practices, and bold legislation.
  2. Put communities and working families above fossil fuel corporations by ensuring a just transition and building a green economy with millions of new, family-sustaining jobs.
  3. Support the growth of healthy, just, sustainable green communities and address the disproportionate environmental and climate harms to front-line and vulnerable communities.

The Sky’s The Limit

Oil Change International

This study released by Oil Change International, in partnership with 14 organizations from around the world, scientifically grounds the growing movement to keep carbon in the ground by revealing the need to stop all new fossil fuel infrastructure and industry expansion. It focuses on the potential carbon emissions from developed reserves – where the wells are already drilled, the pits dug, and the pipelines, processing facilities, railways, and export terminals constructed.

Key Findings:

  1. The potential carbon emissions from the oil, gas, and coal in the world’s currently operating fields and mines would take us beyond 2°C of warming.
  2. The reserves in currently operating oil and gas fields alone, even with no coal, would take the world beyond 1.5°C.
  3. With the necessary decline in production over the coming decades to meet climate goals, clean energy can be scaled up at a corresponding pace, expanding the total number of energy jobs.

Decline and Fall

Carbon Tracker

This report details how the energy transition is disrupting the entire fossil fuel system, with profound consequences for financial markets and geopolitics. The report calculates the size and vulnerability of the different parts of the system.

Key Findings:

  1. The virus brings forward the timing of peak fossil fuel demand (possibly to 2019) and reveals the overcapacity and fragility of the fossil fuel system.
  2. As demand peaks and starts to fall, high-cost assets are no longer required and become stranded. This is a structural shift, not another cycle.
  3. The decline of the fossil fuel system is a significant threat to financial stability. $32 trillion in fixed assets, a quarter of the global equity market and half of the global corporate bond markets are in sectors linked to the fossil fuel system, and the banking sector is exposed to very large amounts of unlisted debt. Now is the time to put in place an orderly wind-down of assets rather than trying to rebuild the unsustainable.

Keep It In the Ground

Sierra Club, 350, Greenpeace

This report examines the coal, oil and natural gas deposits around the world that pose the greatest risk to the climate if burned for fuel. Including an overview of efforts by fossil fuel companies and their political allies to develop these resources, this research provides a roadmap for the international climate movement.

Key Findings:

  1. Coal mining expansion in Australia could add a total of 36 Gt of CO2 equivalent to the atmosphere between 2013 and 2050. There are more than 60 coal mining projects in New South Wales and Queensland, with a targeted coal output of approximately 450 to 500 million metric tons per year, excluding projects that have been abandoned or shelved.
  2. Without the implementation of strong policies to protect the climate and the local environment, production of oil from the tar sands in Alberta is forecast to triple from 1.5 to 4.5 million barrels a day by 2035, adding 706 million metric tons of carbon dioxide a year to worldwide emissions.
  3. India’s coal-fired power plant capacity surged from 90 gigawatts in 2010 to 165 gigawatts in 2014, a rate equivalent to adding a large coal-fired power plant every two weeks. This pace is set to continue for the next few years, with approximately 80 gigawatts of capacity under construction. India’s planned coal expansion could add a total of 57 Gt of CO2- equivalent emissions between 2013 and 2050.
  4. Natural gas production in Africa will deliver 64 billion cubic meters of natural gas in 2015 and rise to 193 billion cubic meters in 2035. Between 2013 and 2050 African gas will add a total of 12 Gt of CO2 equivalent emissions to the atmosphere.
  5. Russia broke oil production records four times in 2015, reaching a peak of 10.77 million barrels a day in October. Production costs remain low, and Russian tax policies provide extraction companies with a buffer against market trends, protecting the companies even when oil prices are down.