A report published earlier this month has revealed that governments across the world plan to boost their fossil fuel production capacity over environmentally acceptable limits. Despite global efforts to scale back fossil fuel use in a bid to combat climate change, the report found that governments are set to produce 110% more fossil fuels in 2030 than would be in line with curbing global warming to 1.5°C. Government plans for coal production by the end of the decade are also 69% more than would be consistent with an average warming of 2°C, the report noted.
This is despite the fact that more than 150 national governments have pledged to work toward achieving net-zero carbon emissions by cutting fossil fuel use. However, with fossil fuels such as coal and oil playing a critical role in many nations’ economies, it will take several years, if not decades, before these fuels are fully replaced by renewable energy from sources such as solar and wind.
The 2023 Production Gap Report noted that countries should make plans to almost completely phase out coal production and use by 2040. It recommended that countries reduce their combined gas and oil production and use by at least three-quarters of 2020 levels by 2050. Furthermore, the report said that national governments with a greater capacity to transition to renewable energy should set more ambitious green-energy goals and help support nations with limited resources.
With recent forecasts indicating that global demand for oil, gas and coal will peak this decade, government plans to increase fossil fuel production could result in a rise in worldwide coal production until 2030 and a rise in gas and oil production until the middle of the century. It would undoubtedly push back global plans to achieve carbon neutrality and will likely contribute to global pollution and climate change.
Meanwhile, recent economic and geopolitical factors have forced many nations to pause their energy transition plans, pushing these countries back to using fossil fuels such as coal. The ongoing Russia-Ukraine war had a devastating impact on the global energy market, resulting in major shortages and causing energy prices to skyrocket.
In Europe, countries such as Germany, which had become reliant on cheap energy imports from Russia, desperately scrambled to find alternative energy sources when Russia cut natural gas supplies to Europe. By late 2022, several European Union member states were firing back their coal power plants as they struggled to shore up their energy supplies for the coming winter months.
This increasing use of fossil fuels such as coal shows just how important supply chain actors such as Arch Resources Inc. (NYSE: ARCH) have become over the decades. It will take time to completely replace the fuel these facilities provide.
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