Fossil Fuels in Transition: Committing to the phase-down of all fossil fuels

November 2023

In its latest report, Fossil Fuels in Transition, the ETC issues a compelling call to action. To meet the COP21 Paris Agreement targets, the use of coal, oil, and gas must undergo a dramatic reduction by 2050, with immediate action imperative.

The analysis presents scenarios to dramatically reduce oil, gas & coal emissions from production, transport and processing of fossil fuels (scope 1 and 2 emissions), with CO2 emissions cut by 50% and methane 75% by 2030, reaching near-zero by 2050. However, the challenge lies in curbing demand and supply, which can and must fall 80-85% in coal use, 55-70% in gas, and 75-95% in oil by 2050. These reductions need to start now, with a 15-30% cut in coal use, 15-20% in gas, and 5-15% in oil by 2030.

These decreases build on current trends, where two in five cars sold in China are already EVs (one in five in Europe), and renewables are already starting to displace fossil fuels in the power sector. Policy will be required to extend this progress to other sectors.

Crucially, the report dispels the notion that CCUS and carbon removals justify business as usual for fossil fuel production. To limit global warming to 1.5°C, 65% of oil and gas reserves and 90% of coal reserves must remain untapped. Consequently, investments in fossil fuel supply should decline by 30-35% by 2030 and 45-65% by 2040, with exploration of new fields deemed unnecessary.

The ETC’s report urges global consensus at COP28 for a swift phase-down of fossil fuels, underlining the pivotal role of technology, policies, and reduced investments in reshaping our energy future. Time is of the essence.

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Main report:

Executive Summary:

Technical Annex:



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