A new report published by the International Institute for Sustainable Development (IISD) is warning that there is a large consensus amongst all published studies that opening new gas and oil fields will not be compatible with 1.5C. The study did not look at coal as that has been extensively addressed elsewhere.  Worth letting your MP know and if you haven’t already done so mentioning the findings in your response to the NZ consultation! For more analysis see Carbon Brief.

Key messages from the Executive Summary of Navigating Energy Transitions: Mapping the road to 1.5C:

  • According to a large consensus across multiple modelled climate and energy pathways, developing any new oil and gas fields is incompatible with limiting
    warming to 1.5°C. Global oil and gas production and consumption must decrease by at least 65% by 2050.
  • Governments should create enabling environments for redirecting both public and private capital flows toward the clean energy transition, including the deployment of additional solar and wind capacity. The annual investment gap for the required wind and solar deployment amounts to USD 450 billion until 2030. Forecasts indicate that up to USD 570 billion will be spent every year in new oil and gas development and exploration during the same period.
  • There is no room for new fossil import infrastructure in Europe in 1.5°C-aligned gas phase-out pathways. Existing import capacity can meet the gas demand for Europe in the medium- and longer-term. In 2022 and 2023, the short-term supply crunch and its potentially dire consequences cannot be alleviated in time by newly added gas capacity.

The IISD therefore states that to remain within 1.5C oil and gas production needs to decline respectively by 15% and 30% by 2030, and by 65% by 2050, compared to 2020 levels. Unless the current fields’ operations are significantly curtailed new development would either generate stranded assets or push the world beyond 1.5C.

The report discusses what is required to enable wind and solar to replace oil and gas “since they provide the most greenhouse gas mitigation potential at the lowest cost from all currently available options in all sectors”. (IPCC, 2022)…..

Our report finds that policies currently deployed in support of renewable energy fall short of these objectives: according to the selected IPCC scenarios and IEA’s NZE scenario, by 2030, annual capacity additions should be at least 2.5 times higher for wind and 1.5 times higher for solar energy compared to current policy forecasts (Figure ES3). All other analyzed scenarios broadly confirm the need to rapidly add far more wind and solar capacity than planned, and generally point to even higher required rates of deployment for the two technologies.

It also addresses the implications of the war in Ukraine…..

In 2022, the energy market disruptions due to the Russian invasion of Ukraine and the consequent economic sanctions on Russia have strained global gas supplies. They bring questions on the present and future role of gas in energy and power systems to the forefront of policy discussions. Yet the replacement of gas with clean power generation alternatives is an important step in achieving oil and gas production levels that are compatible with a 1.5°C future. 

Our report finds that global gas power generation capacity should decrease by more than 55% by 2035 compared to 2020 levels. Currently forecasted generation from gas power plants already in operation, in construction, or being planned, is expected to deliver more generation capacity than would be consistent with the Paris Agreement throughout the forthcoming decades (Figure ES5). Therefore, the construction of new gas-fired power plants risks leading to a dangerously high number of stranded assets.

In Europe, the shortage of gas supply has so far pushed policy-makers to accelerate the transition to renewable energies, on the one hand, and to pursue alternative gas supplies,
on the other. Based on the selected IPCC pathways, our report finds that existing global import capacity could meet medium- and long-term European demand without Russian
imports, if Europe were to reduce gas consumption in line with the 1.5°C target. The potential supply crunch in 2022 and 2023 could have dire consequences, but new gas supply infrastructure will not come online in time to address it adequately. Not only can Europe meet its energy needs by reducing dependence on Russian gas supply through accelerating renewable energy, energy efficiency and electrification, it must do so to align with 1.5°C pathways.

The European gas crunch has also prompted a global dash for gas, which is incompatible with the timely achievement of an energy transition compatible with the 1.5°C target. As such, the impacts of the energy crisis may also be considerable in developing countries, especially those with exploitable gas reserves. They may face higher risks of stranded assets once the European dash for gas has reached its peak. It is therefore essential that developing countries continue to pursue 1.5°C-compatible transition pathways, and leapfrog from current fossil-based energy paradigms to clean energy sources that can guarantee a more sustainable and secure energy future. It requires dedicated policies to foster capacity building and infrastructure development, and support of donor countries and international financial institutions through adequate streams of climate finance.