The climate talks at COP28 have centred around the need for a fossil fuel phase-out. But some are calling for this to be limited to ‘unabated’ fossil fuels. This would present two key risks:
- It creates the false impression that we can achieve our climate goals and maintain large-scale fossil fuel consumption enabled by carbon capture and storage (CCS). On the contrary, pathways that achieve the Paris Agreement’s 1.5°C limit in a sustainable manner show a near complete phase-out of fossil fuels by around 2050 and rely to a very limited degree, if at all, on fossil CCS.
- If the term ‘unabated’ is poorly defined, it could reopen a closing door on the large-scale use of fossil fuels. A weak definition of ‘abated’ – or even no definition at all – could allow poorly performing fossil CCS projects to be classed as abated. This could result in upstream and downstream emissions from fossil fuel production to go on unaddressed.
Our analysis quantifies the risk posed by restricting a phase-out commitment to only ‘unabated’ fossil fuels. Reliance on large-scale CCS, combined with an underperformance in CCS technologies, could lead to excess greenhouse gas emissions of 86 billion tonnes between 2020 and 2050. This would push the 1.5°C limit out of reach.
Whether ‘abated’ or not, fossil fuel supply and combustion needs to be phased out. The latest science shows that fossil fuel use needs to peak this decade and decline rapidly – by 40% this decade – on the way to a near-complete phase-out around 2050.
Tripling renewables by 2030: interpreting the global goal at the regional level
At COP28, governments agreed to triple global renewable capacity by 2030. This report breaks down what a 1.5ºC-aligned renewables rollout would look like at the regional level and calculate the associated investment needs.
Submission to the Australian Treasury consultation on the Petroleum Resource Rent Tax
As the gas industry in Australia has grown exponentially, the profit taxes it pays to the government have proportionally plummeted, presenting an opportunity to change this regime. Here, we respond to the Australian Government Treasury consultation on the Petroleum Resource Rent Tax (PRRT) – anti-avoidance provisions and clarifying treatment of ‘exploration’ and Mining, Quarrying or Prospecting Rights.
No change to warming as fossil fuel endgame brings focus onto false solutions
The CAT's annual warming estimate has risen by 0.1˚C to 2.5˚C. The estimate is largely influenced by weak existing targets rather than shifts triggered by updated Nationally Determined Contributions.
When will global greenhouse gas emissions peak?
The IPCC says peaking before 2025 is a critical step to keep the 1.5°C limit within reach. With emissions set to rise in 2023, this leaves limited time to act. To assess if we can meet this milestone, we look at when global emissions might peak, as well as what we can do to get there in time.
Wind and solar benchmarks for a 1.5°C world
This report presents a detailed methodology for determining the amount of wind and solar capacity that is required for a country to align with the Paris Agreement’s 1.5°C temperature goal. While the focus of the report is the method, it includes illustrative benchmarks for Brazil, China, India, Indonesia, Germany, South Africa.
A 1.5°C future is possible: getting fossil fuels out of the Philippine power sector
The Philippines is also one of the fastest-growing developing countries: poverty is in decline, access to energy is rising and, with that, demand for energy services. However, fossil fuels still dominate the energy system, accounting for 78% of power generation in 2022. This report sets out what the Philippines government needs to do to get the country’s power sector onto a 1.5˚C compatible emissions pathway, replacing fossil fuels with renewable energy.
State of Climate Action 2023
This report finds that global efforts to limit warming to 1.5°C are failing across the board, with recent progress made on every indicator – except electric vehicle sales – lagging behind the pace and scale needed to address the climate crisis.
Emissions impossible: Unpacking CSIRO GISERA Beetaloo Middle Arm fossil gas emissions estimates
This report provides an independent evaluation of the CSIRO and GISERA assessments of the potential greenhouse gas emissions that would result from the exploitation of the Beetaloo fossil shale gas reserves.
Adjusting 1.5°C climate change mitigation pathways in light of adverse new information
This study uses an integrated assessment model to explore how 1.5°C pathways could adjust in light of new adverse information, such as a reduced 1.5°C carbon budget, or slower-than-expected low-carbon technology deployment.