Rich nations need to ditch fossil fuels by 2040: scientists
Rich countries need to stop using coal by 2030 and oil and gas by 2040, with poorer nations following a decade behind, to give the world a chance of limiting warming to 1.5C, climate scientists told the UN yesterday. In a note to the UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres and UN Climate Change body, shared with AFP, climate scientists from the Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research (PIK) and Exeter University said there was very little room for anything but a total phase-out of fossil fuels. The steep timeline they laid out comes as climate negotiators at the COP28 talks in Dubai are tussling over the future of oil, gas and coal, responsible for the lion's share of humanity's planet-heating emissions. The UN climate negotiations are tasked with helping the world meet the Paris deal goal of limiting global warming to 1.5 degrees Celsius from pre-industrial levels, but have often been vague on how that target will be achieved. PIK director Johan Rockstrom said that the new calculations sent to the UN show the world unwinding fossil fuel use at a speed and scale that makes debates at COP28 about decarbonising by 2050 or a gradual "phasedown" plan beside the point. The note to Guterres uses estimates of the amount of carbon dioxide that the world can pump into the atmosphere and still limit warming to 1.5C from the UN's IPCC climate panel.