The world’s seven biggest fossil companies, including ExxonMobil, BP, and Shell, must cut their oil and gas production 35% by 2040 to avoid driving average global warming above 1.5°C, according to a new analysis published last week by UK-based Carbon Tracker.
“Global governments would also need to stop issuing new oil and gas licences for fossil fuel exploration,” The Guardian reports , citing the study. “It showed that global oil projects that have already been approved are almost enough to meet demand in a 1.6°C scenario,” leaving “very little headroom” for new fossil development.
Like this story? Subscribe to The Energy Mix and never miss an edition of our free e-digest.
“The industry is trying to have its cake and eat it—reassuring shareholders and appearing supportive of [the carbon reduction goals in the 2015 Paris Agreement], while still producing more fossil fuels,” said Carbon Tracker analyst Mike Coffin. “If companies and governments attempt to develop all their oil and gas reserves, either the world will miss its climate targets or assets will become ‘stranded’ in the energy transition, or both. This analysis shows that if companies really want to both mitigate financial risk and be part of the climate solution, they must shrink production.”
Last month, a Guardian investigation revealed  that colossal fossils were plotting to increase their oil production by 35% through 2030.
“If we were serious about addressing climate change we would leave some oil in the ground, so there is a scramble among big oil companies to make sure their assets are not the ones left stranded,” Oxford University economist Dieter Helm explained at the time. “Their answer is to pump as much as they can, while they still can, to keep delivering shareholder dividends. But the problem for the rest of us is that they are going to produce far more oil and gas than is consistent with the Paris Agreement.”
Now, based on their publicly-reported data, Carbon Tracker is laying out the oil and gas reductions each company will have to achieve to be considered compliant with the Paris targets: ConocoPhillips by 85%, Exxon by 55%, Italian fossil Eni by 40%, Chevron and France’s Total by 35%, BP by 25%, and Shell by 10%.