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Oil Companies Must Cut Production by 35% to Meet Paris Climate Accord Numbers by 2040: Report

"As oil and gas majors keep one foot a decarbonizing world and one foot in business as usual, this report shows how that position is untenable for much longer."

Flares burning off gas at Belridge Oil Field and hydraulic fracking site, the fourth largest oil field in California.

Flares burning off gas at Belridge Oil Field and hydraulic fracking site, the fourth largest oil field in California. (Photo: Citizens of the Planet/Education Images/Universal Images Group/Getty Images)

A new report released Friday claims that if fossil fuel companies want to have any chance of hitting Paris Climate Accord numbers by 2040, they will have to cut production by over a third. 

"Oil and gas companies seem to be operating under a business as usual mindset in which they can grow without limit, while taking minimal steps to reduce the greenhouse gas emissions they are responsible for," said environmental advocacy group As You Sow energy program manager Lila Holzman. "This report emphasizes that no company is taking sufficient action to reduce the risk of climate breakdown."

Carbon Tracker's "Balancing the Budget" details the long road for extractive industries "to keep emissions within international climate targets and protect shareholder value."

"We estimate that as a group, the major oil and gas companies need to reduce production by 35% to 2040 to stay within their B2DS budgets," the report explains. "Within this decline there is significant variation, from Shell (-10%) to ConocoPhillips (-85%) reflecting current and future project mix."

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The news was met with a sense of urgency from climate advocates, who said that fossil fuel companies need to make a choice. 

"As oil and gas majors keep one foot a decarbonizing world and one foot in business as usual this report shows how that position is untenable for much longer," tweeted Fletcher School dean Rachel Kyte. 

As You Sow president Danielle Fugere said that the report confirmed what climate activists have been saying for years. 

"Oil and gas companies' investments are taking the world down a catastrophic pathway that threatens the planet and the global economy," said Fugere. "We are already seeing destructive impacts worldwide—and the world has only warmed one degree."

"To right the ship and set us on a sustainable course, investors must demand that these companies set Paris-aligned targets and begin strategically reducing investments in oil and gas projects," Fugere added. "This is a necessary step on the pathway toward preserving a livable planet."

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