Carbon Tracker recently announced that it was creating a Global Registry of Fossil Fuels, the “Registry,” which will be a concrete policy tool to measure production, the associated emissions, and how those relate to a 1.5°C compatible pathway. The Registry will contain several datasets and tools that can inform policy and economic discussions around an equitable wind down of fossil fuel consumption, consistent with global climate targets. A key goal of the registry is to provide an open-source framework for data related to the energy transition and to integrate Registry data with existing, freely available datasets.
As part of the energy transition policymakers will need to consider a range of challenges. Among them is the question of how the wind-down of fossil fuel production will impact producer countries. In producer countries, public debate can be expected to focus on the economic effect of any changes to oil and gas production and the commensurate impact on emissions.
The registry can help answer that question by identifying how much those countries are paid today for the emissions from their production of fossil fuels.
To support dialogue on this key issue, the Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative (EITI) and Carbon Tracker Initiative, building on data prepared for the Global Registry of Fossil Fuels, have combined datasets to create a starting point for measuring how much governments earn from oil and gas revenues per tonne of carbon dioxide emissions produced. Better understanding of this metric can influence debate on the re-investment potential of fossil fuels into alternative public goods.
The data allows comparisons between estimated carbon emissions from 20 EITI member countries against their government revenue receipts in 2018 (the last full year available). The methodology underpinning the data should be read alongside the data. It is intended as an initial contribution to debate and an illustration of how such analysis can inform key questions for resource-dependent countries.
Proprietary databases do contain information a range of information on state revenues from fossil fuel extraction and indeed Carbon Tracker has published on the implications for extractions-intensive companies in Beyond Petrostates: The burning need to cut oil dependence in the energy transition.
However, we are now endeavoring to ensure that more of this data is available on an open-source basis. Unfortunately, analysis is not yet systematically undertaken by a broad range of oil and gas producing countries or integrated into efforts to achieve nationally determined contributions (NDCs). Project-level production and reserves data, like what Carbon Tracker relies on from proprietary sources such as Rystad, would enable this analysis to inform decisions on project approval, to avoid the risk of stranded assets.
These shortcomings in the data must be resolved, since we will only manage what we measure. Both this dataset and the Registry aim to improve data and understanding of fossil fuel production and associated emissions so that governments can effectively manage towards the Paris Agreement targets.