Countries like Colombia must stop producing oil and gas before 2050

Colombia and other Latin American countries such as Brazil or Mexico are in Group 3, which will have to reduce production by 28% by 2030 and by more than 90% by 2043.

Photo: Henry Sherinos

Since the 2015 Paris Agreement, countries around the world have committed to keeping the average global temperature increase well below 2°C and continuing efforts to limit the temperature increase to 1.5°C. Since then, scientific evidence has strongly linked these goals to reduced production of all fossil fuels. A new study published on March 22 sets a date for this goal, which must be met if the world is to avoid climate collapse.

The Transfer, led by Professor Kevin Anderson of the University of Manchester’s Tyndall Center for Climate Change Research, proposes research that analyzes, among other variables, the ability of developed and developing countries to abandon oil, coal and gas. Here are some of the most interesting discoveries. The report makes it very clear that if you want to limit global warming as proposed in 2015, you cannot open new production facilities of any kind, be it coal mines, oil wells or gas stations.

The research notes that “a transition based on principles of equity requires rich countries with high emissions to phase out all oil and gas production by 2034, while poor countries have until 2050 to end production.” Anderson analyzes that 95% of all oil and gas production occurs in only thirty-three countries. The dependence that they both have economically with regard to the two fuels is crucial to their ability to leave them.

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Some countries, although small producers, have little economic income other than oil and gas production (for example, South Sudan, Equatorial Guinea, Congo-Brazzaville, Gabon). Other countries, although large producers, have diverse and vibrant economies where oil and gas revenues are unique (for example, the United Kingdom, Canada, Australia and even the United States). Although countries like Qatar or the United Arab Emirates have very high incomes from these fuels, they also have other high incomes that have nothing to do with them.

Rich countries that are big producers tend to stay rich even after they run out of oil and gas revenues. By contrast, many small producers have such well-established economies of oil and gas production that they have little financial capacity to reshape their economies once oil and gas inputs are phased out.

After dividing states into different groups based on economic indicators, the study specifies that the richest countries (the first group) should cut oil and gas production by 50% in just six years and stop it completely by 2034.

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For the poorest countries dependent on oil and gas revenues (Group 5), the date of a 50% production decline has been extended to 2037, with complete elimination by 2050. Colombia and other Latin American countries such as Brazil and Mexico, fall into Group 3, which should It reduces its production by 28% by 2030 and by more than 90% by 2043.

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The fossil-fuel phase-out schedules that emerge from this analysis are not very far from what nearly all governments are proposing, they also run counter to what some major producers are currently doing, who plan to ramp up production in the short term. “This is completely inconsistent with the production paths outlined in this report. The study says that peak production should now be pursued, effectively immediately, by rapid removal of current production.” To have a 50% or greater chance of keeping the temperature below 1.5°C, all producing countries must peak production immediately. and begin to decline continuously.

Anderson’s team acknowledges that its timetable for developing and poor countries is a blow to the money. Production in the poorest countries must be reduced by between a sixth (for Group 5, the poorest) and almost a third (for Group 3, below average capacity) by 2030. This already represents a significant loss of short-term revenue opportunities for countries least able to bear such losses. .

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“It will be necessary (for them) to phase out production by the 1940s and 1950s, but that is exactly what is required of them at 50% or greater than 1.5°C,” the study says. For this reason, it is clear to Anderson that international financial support is needed.

Coal provided some distinctive properties in relation to oil and gas. Unlike the latter, there is a close connection between national production and coal consumption. This means that the countries that produce the most are also those that consume the most. For developed countries, coal production should be reduced by 50% within five years and effectively phased out by 2030. For developing countries, there is some relative leeway. However, coal production is set to start declining immediately, halving in a decade with extraction completely halted by 2040.

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Quoting the Guardian, Christiana Figueres, the former UN climate chief who oversaw the Paris 2015 summit, noted Anderson’s findings: “This new study is a timely reminder that all countries must phase out oil and gas production quickly, as they move Rich countries faster, while ensuring a fair transition for workers and the communities that depend on them.”

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