Press release | Dec. 2, 2020

New UN report calling for fossil fuel reduction must not be ignored by EU

2nd December 2020, London - Coming less than two weeks before the European Commission publishes its new energy infrastructure policy, today’s UN Production Gap Report is clear evidence that the EU must rule out any new funding of all fossil fuels, including fossil gas.

Today’s UN report warns that the world must decrease fossil fuel production by 6 percent each year between now and 2030, to limit “catastrophic warming”. First launched last year, the report measures the gap between Paris Agreement goals and countries’ planned production of coal, oil, and gas.

While fossil gas is often claimed by the fossil fuel industry to be a ‘low-carbon’ or ‘transition fuel’, the UN report is clear that it’s extraction and use must decrease by 26 per cent over the next decade if the world is to keep warming below 1.5C.

On 15th December the European Commission will publish its proposal for revision of the TEN-E regulation that governs which energy projects the EU supports with public money, amidst civil society concerns that the Commission will fail to exclude fossil gas from these funds. The current TEN-E regulation has supported 29 billion euros of new gas infrastructure in Europe, and is increasingly controversial following the EIB’s decision last year to phase out financing for all fossil fuels.

Murray Worthy, Gas Campaign Leader at Global Witness, said:

“Hot on the tails of this vital UN report, the European Commission will provide the first test of how serious the world is to heed the urgent warning it makes. Should the EU fail to rule out funding fossil gas in its new energy policy, it will show it is ignoring science. .”

“Today's report is vital in ensuring the Paris Climate agreement is more than just an abstract idea, showing exactly what action governments must take to protect our planet. As the world's largest trading block the European Union has the most important global role in tackling change and where the UN has spoken, the EU must listen - and act.”

“The UN’s warning explicitly covers all fossil fuels, with fossil gas no exception. Indeed fossil gas has now overtaken coal for CO2 emissions in the EU. Countries must stop treating fossil gas as anything different to other fossil fuels, all of which are driving the planet towards climate breakdown”. 

For a full media briefing on the European Commission’s TEN-E revision, contact Dominic Kavakeb ([email protected]/ +4475 45 965 302)

/ ENDS

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