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Clean, cheap or fair – which countries should pump the last oil and gas?

(Climate Home News, 26 Feb 2024) The Cop28 UN climate summit in December secured agreement from almost 200 nations to “transition away from fossil fuels in energy systems in a just, orderly and equitable manner” – a decision hailed by world leaders as “historic”.

But, while lots of countries are trying to reduce their use of planet-heating fossil fuels, only a handful have so far taken measures to produce less – particularly when it comes to oil and gas.

Last year, a United Nations report found that governments plan to produce more than double the amount of fossil fuels in 2030 than they should if global warming is to be limited to 1.5C. So they need to cut back. 

The International Energy Agency (IEA) says no more new fossil fuel production projects are required, yet we will still need fossil fuels for the next few decades to keep economies running. That raises the question of who should get to drill, pump and sell those last supplies – and why?

Climate Home looked at three key criteria for the production of oil and gas. Unlike the other dirtiest fossil fuel – coal – they tend to be located together and so are produced in the same regions by the same nations. And the IEA predicts that their use will outlive that of coal.

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Climate Home News, 26 Feb 2024: Clean, cheap or fair – which countries should pump the last oil and gas?