RICH countries must end oil and gas production by 2034 to keep the world on track to limit global warming to 1.5°C, and give poorer nations longer to replace their income from fossil fuel production, according to a new report from a leading climate scientist. 

The study proposes different phase-out dates for oil and gas producing countries in line with international goals to move to a fair transition.  

Taking into account countries’ differing levels of wealth, development and economic reliance on fossil fuels, it says the poorest nations should be given until 2050 to end production, but that they will also need significant financial support to support their economies while doing so. 

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The report, by Professor Kevin Anderson, a leading researcher at the Tyndall Centre for Climate Change Research, at Manchester University, and colleague Dr Dan Calverley, warns there is no room for any nation to increase production, with all having to make significant cuts this decade.  

It said the richest, which produce over a third of the world’s oil and gas, must cut output by 74 per cent by 2030; the poorest, which supply just one ninth of global demand, must cut back by 14%. 

Mr Anderson said: “Responding to the ongoing climate emergency requires a rapid shift away from a fossil fuel economy, but this must be done fairly.

"There are huge differences in the ability of countries to end oil and gas production, while maintaining vibrant economies and delivering a just transition for their citizens. 

"We have developed a schedule for phasing out oil and gas production that – with sufficient support for developing countries – meets our very challenging climate commitments and does so in a fair way. 

“The research was completed prior to Russia’s invasion of Ukraine. Of course, our first thoughts are with the Ukrainian people and indeed with all of those caught up in the war."

The Herald:

Can countries end reliance on oil and gas?

Mr Anderson added: "But the rocketing oil and gas prices only serve to strengthen the case we make in our report.

"Had we spent the last twenty years establishing an efficient and sensible use of energy alongside a massive roll-out of renewables, we would not now be scrabbling around for alternative oil and gas supplies and facing the impacts of volatile prices.

"Now is exactly the time we should be planning for a renewable 21st-century rather than reliving the oil-based 20th.”  

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North Sea gas production is being stepped up by the UK Government in the wake of the war in Ukraine and sanctions against Russian energy imports.

But the move has angered the Scottish Government with the Scottish Green’s co-leader Patrick Harvie, a minister in Nicola Sturgeon’s administration, using his conference speech earlier this month, to attack the move. 

The SNP-Green government have not set a date for the ending of fossil fuel production