Oil majors’ global climate scenarios not Paris Agreement compatible – study
Climate Analytics research analyses global decarbonisation scenarios from large global fossil fuel companies, finding that the scenarios are not in line with Paris Agreement's 1.5°C temperature rise by 2100.
Berlin, 16 August 2022: Global decarbonisation scenarios produced by BP, Royal Dutch Shell and Equinor are incompatible with the climate objectives of the Paris Agreement, according to a new study led by research organisation Climate Analytics.
In the peer-reviewed paper published today in Nature Communications, researchers analysed six institutional scenarios published between 2020 and mid 2021, including four from the oil majors (two from BP), and two developed by the International Energy Agency IEA.
“Most of the scenarios we evaluated would be classified as inconsistent with the Paris Agreement as they fail to limit warming to ‘well below 2 ̊C, let alone 1.5 ̊C, and would exceed the 1.5 ̊C warming limit by a significant margin,” said Dr Robert Brecha, co-lead author of the study.
“Energy system transformation is critical to reaching the Paris Agreement warming limit, and decision makers need sound and transparent scientific assessments. This paper adds to that transparency.”
Most of the evaluated scenarios would be classified as “lower 2°C pathways” (i.e., pathways that keep peak warming below 2°C with a 66% chance or more). Equinor’s ‘Rebalance’ scenario peaks at a median warming of 1.73°C above pre-industrial levels in 2060, BP’s ‘Rapid’ at 1.73°C in 2058, Shell’s ‘Sky’ at 1.81°C in 2069, and the IEA’s sustainable development scenario (SDS) at 1.78°C in 2056.
Only the IEA Net Zero 2050 scenario is aligned with the criteria for Paris Agreement consistency that the researchers applied in the study. BP’s Net Zero scenario results in a median peak warming of 1.65°C, too high to be consistent with the Paris Agreement criteria – every fraction of a degree matters.
Bill Hare, CEO and Senior Scientist at Climate Analytics, said: “Fossil fuel companies claim that we can continue to burn oil and gas while keeping to the 1.5°C warming limit, and they cite their own scenarios as justification. But our research shows that their pathways would bust the Paris Agreement. Even temporarily exceeding the 1.5°C warming would lead to catastrophic impacts and severely weaken our ability to adapt to climate change.”
The researchers compared the analysed pathways to the Integrated Assessment Model scenarios assessed by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change’s Special Report on 1.5°C and evaluated peak and end-of-century temperatures.
In addition to implied temperatures, the authors assessed underlying energy system features that drive emissions pathways and lead to a given scenario satisfying (or not) the Paris Agreement.
The study makes available the tools for policy makers to assess on an equal footing the Paris Agreement claims made for scenarios published by a number of public, commercial and academic institutions.
“Institutional assessments have historically been opaque on climate outcomes. Our study provides a direct line of sight from pathways to temperature. Governments should use these tools to carry out a robust assessment of the energy-system transformation to meet the Paris Agreement goals,” said Dr Matthew Gidden, co-author of the study.
Carbon capture and storage could unleash 86 billion tonne carbon bomb
A new analysis finds reliance on carbon capture and storage could release an extra 86 billion tonnes of greenhouse gases into the atmosphere between 2020 and 2050.
Projected warming almost unchanged for two years as governments push false solutions over climate action
Despite their promises, governments have not taken enough action to drive down warming projections, with some instead turning to false solutions such as carbon capture and storage to continue the world's reliance on fossil fuels, according to the Climate Action Tracker's annual warming update.
Oil and gas majors could have paid for their share of climate loss and damage and still earned 10 trillion USD: new report
Global climate damages from emissions associated with the top 25 oil and gas ‘carbon majors’ between 1985 and 2018 are estimated at 20 trillion USD compared to the 30 trillion USD they earned over the same period, according to a new report released today by international think tank Climate Analytics.
A 1.5˚C pathway for the Philippines power sector entirely feasible: analysis
With the right international funding and policies in place, the Philippines could transition its’ power sector to near-100% renewable energy without compromising on the costs of electricity, reducing its reliance on expensive imports of both coal and gas, and creating up to a million jobs by 2050.
State of Climate Action report finds progress lags on every measure except EV sales
Global efforts to limit warming to 1.5°C are failing across the board, with recent progress made on every indicator — except electric passenger car sales — lagging significantly behind the pace and scale that is necessary to address the climate crisis.
Governments plan to produce double the fossil fuels in 2030 than the 1.5°C warming limit allows
The Production Gap Report finds governments plan to produce around 110% more fossil fuels in 2030 than would be consistent with limiting warming to 1.5°C, and 69% more than would be consistent with 2°C.
Beetaloo fracking and Middle Arm emissions wildly underestimated: analysis
An independent analysis of the projected emissions from the Northern Territory's proposed Beetaloo Basin gas fracking project — and the associated Middle Arm LNG precinct in Darwin Harbour — has found they've been gravely underestimated, as have the availability of offsets to deal with them.
Comic artists respond to the climate crisis
Three leading comic creators have collaborated with the Horizon Europe project, CONSTRAIN, to develop comics exploring the climate change challenge.
Adelle Thomas elected as Vice-Chair of the IPCC's Impacts, Adaptation and Vulnerability group
Dr. Adelle Thomas elected as Vice-Chair of the IPCC's Working Group II contribution on on Impacts, Adaptation and Vulnerability for the seventh assessment report cycle
Changes to the jet stream could trigger simultaneous crop failures impacting global food security
This new study finds that the jet stream – air currents in the upper atmosphere – can synchronise extreme weather caused by climate change, resulting in crop failures in multiple countries at the same time.