The world’s leading experts on oil, gas and coal accounting aim to increase transparency of and responsibility for emissions from existing, planned and potential production through the development of a Global Registry of Fossil Fuels.
Friday, February 5 – Today, the Carbon Tracker Initiative and Global Energy Monitor are embarking on the development of a Global Registry of Fossil Fuels. These two organisations were selected through a competitive process to develop the world’s first publicly available, comprehensive database of all fossil fuel reserves in the ground and in production.
Oil, gas and coal are responsible for close to 80% of emissions to date. The United Nations Environment Programme is calling for a wind down of oil, gas and coal production by 6% annually to meet the goal of keeping warming under 1.5 degrees Celsius yet the Paris Agreement doesn’t account for emissions from the supply of fossil fuels. Countries are currently under no obligation to report on existing, planned and potential production. Existing databases on fossil fuel reserves and production are either not detailed enough, or are proprietary and for industry use.
Meanwhile, expansion continues. The United Nations Environment Programme estimates that national governments are planning for new production at levels that would result in 120 percent more emissions than the 1.5C warming limit needed to avert the climate emergency. This presents a threat to humanity on par with nuclear weapons in the 20th century.
Government accountability and transparency is an important stepping stone to broader international cooperation on phasing out the supply of fossil fuels. By providing the most granular, accessible database of fossil fuel reserves to date, the Global Registry of Fossil Fuels will allow governments, investors, researchers and civil society organizations to assess the amount of embedded CO2 in coal, oil and gas projects around the world, and compel governments and investors to bring plans in to line with the Paris Agreement’s 1.5C temperature goal.
Country governments are also being called on to engage with the registry, to contribute or verify their data and publicly support the need for greater transparency on fossil fuel supply. The Global Registry of Fossil Fuels will be both a groundbreaking standalone tool and inform country transparency commitments with the ultimate goal of engaging country governments through a country-driven, UN-hosted, multilateral registry.
Carbon Tracker Initiative and Global Energy Monitor successfully were awarded the bid to develop the Global Registry of Fossil Fuels prototype issued via a Request for Proposals from the Fossil Fuel Non-Proliferation Treaty Initiative. Through the initiative, government, civil society, Indigenous, youth, academic, business and other leaders are joining together to call for a Fossil Fuel Treaty to end expansion and wind down existing production in keeping with 1.5C and accelerate the shift to low-carbon energy and economies. Such a treaty would complement the Paris Agreement by providing the missing framework to address emissions from the supply of fossil fuels and mechanism for planning a fair energy and economic transition. A Global Registry of Fossil Fuels will inform multilateral negotiations for a Fossil Fuel
Non-Proliferation Treaty. The launch of the Global Registry of Fossil Fuels will be timely in the immediate run-up to the landmark COP26, taking place in Glasgow 2021.
“Cities and governments are increasingly recognising the need to address the supply side of the fossil fuel equation. A global registry of the CO2 embedded in projects can provide governments, investors and civil society with the ability to rationally challenge oversupply, including which projects take us beyond the 1.5 threshold. In this sense, it will act as a red warning light if governments hand-out more exploration licences into an already overcrowded world of fossil fuel supply,”
said Rob Schuwerk, Executive Director of Carbon Tracker North America.
“Access to this information can no longer be left to those able to pay huge subscriptions. The energy transition needs a dynamic database of fossil fuels to underpin it, available for free in public domain. We aim to build data structures which can be seamlessly integrated into policy and market mechanisms, fit for the purpose of managed decline of the fossil fuel industries,”
said Johnny West, founder of OpenOil and advisor to Carbon Tracker.
“This ambitious project is long overdue. Ensuring that our children have a livable future means we can’t keep treating fossil fuel reserves like hidden cards in a poker game. Controlling any problem is most effectively done at the source, and climate change is no exception. That means it is time to illuminate and quantify what’s in the ground. We’re excited to see the inherent power of open, transparent, verifiable information being brought to bear on this fundamental piece of the climate puzzle,”
said Ted Nace, founder and Executive Director of the Global Energy Monitor.
“Transparency and government accountability are vital ingredients of a rapid, equitable phase out of fossil fuels. Continued stalling by governments and corporations will lead to stranded assets, workers and communities, and runaway climate change with horrific consequences. The Global Registry of Fossil fuels will lay all the cards on the table so that governments and investors can plan now for a global just transition away from fossil fuels, and policymakers be held accountable for the fossil fuels in the ground and under production,”
said Rebecca Byrnes, Deputy Director of the Fossil Fuel Non-Proliferation Treaty.
Cara Pike, Climate Access, firstname.lastname@example.org, 1-250-709-1861
Brenna Two Bears, Climate Access, email@example.com, 1-812-345-3139