- New probe finds fossil fuel firms planning 195 ‘carbon bomb’ oil and gas projects
- These are either in the process of being built or already in place across the globe
- Projects could release 646 billion tonnes of CO2 emissions during their lifetimes
- Around 60 per cent of projects are already producing oil and gas, research finds
The world’s biggest fossil fuel companies are planning almost 200 ‘carbon bomb’ oil and gas projects that could doom efforts to limit planetary warming to 2.7°F (1.5°C), new research shows.
An investigation found that these schemes could potentially unleash some 646 billion tonnes of CO2 emissions, with around 60 per cent of them already producing oil and gas.
Campaigners say the other 40 per cent of projects that have not yet started must be stopped if the world is to avoid a climate catastrophe.
If the expansion plans continue unabated, the analysis reveals, they will produce greenhouse gases equivalent to a decade of CO2 emissions from China, the world’s biggest polluter.
The world’s biggest fossil fuel companies are planning almost 200 ‘carbon bomb’ oil and gas projects that could doom efforts to limit planetary warming to 2.7°F (1.5°C), research shows
An investigation found that these schemes (pictured by country) could potentially unleash some 646 billion tonnes of CO2 emissions, with around 60 per cent of them already producing oil and gas
The world’s biggest fossil fuel companies are planning almost 200 ‘carbon bomb’ oil and gas projects that could doom efforts to limit planetary warming, new research shows (stock)
PARIS AGREEMENT: ACCORD TO LIMIT TEMPERATURE RISES
The Paris Agreement, first signed in 2015, is an international agreement to control and limit climate change.
It hopes to hold the increase in the global average temperature to below 2°C (3.6°F) ‘and to pursue efforts to limit the temperature increase to 1.5°C (2.7°F)’.
It seems the more ambitious goal of restricting global warming to 1.5°C (2.7°F) may be more important than ever, according to previous research which claims 25 per cent of the world could see a significant increase in drier conditions.
The Paris Agreement on Climate Change has four main goals with regards to reducing emissions:
1) A long-term goal of keeping the increase in global average temperature to well below 2°C above pre-industrial levels
2) To aim to limit the increase to 1.5°C, since this would significantly cut risks and the impacts of climate change
3) Governments agreed on the need for global emissions to peak as soon as possible, recognizing that this will take longer for developing countries
4) To undertake rapid reductions thereafter in accordance with the best available science
Under the global 2015 Paris climate treaty, countries pledged to curb temperature rises to 3.6°F (2°C) and pursue efforts to limit them to 2.7°F (1.5°C) above 19th century levels to avoid the most dangerous impacts of climate change.
Findings from the United Nations last year suggested the world needs to cut its production of coal, oil and gas by more than half in the coming decade to even have a chance of meeting the Paris Agreement’s strict climate standards.
But research shared with the Guardian flies in the face of this, revealing that the dozen biggest oil companies are on track to spend $103m (£84m) a day for the rest of the decade exploiting new fields of oil and gas.
However, these cannot be burned if global warming is to be limited to under 3.6°F (2°C).
Data from the thinktank Carbon Tracker suggests that 27 per cent of the companies’ projected investments are incompatible with this.
ExxonMobil has the largest of these investment plans at $21 million (£17 million) a day through to 2030, followed by Petrobras ($15m;£12m), Chevron and ConocoPhillips (both $12m;£9.8m), and Shell ($8m) m; £6.5m).
When looking at the most dangerous investments – those that could help drive temperatures beyond 4.86°F (2.7°C) – Gazprom accounts for $17m (£13.9m) a day of this, ExxonMobil $12m (£9.8m), Shell $11 m (£9m) and PetroChina $9m (£7.3m).
The new research, which was led by Kjell Kühne from the University of Leeds, defines carbon bombs as ‘projects capable of pumping at least 1 billion tonnes of CO2 emissions over their lifetimes’.
The huge North Field gas fields in Qatar are named in the study as the biggest new oil and gas carbon bomb in the world.
Researchers also found that the US is the leading source of potential emissions, with 22 carbon bombs that could emit 140 billion tonnes of CO2.
These include conventional drilling and fracking from the waters of the Gulf of Mexico to the Permian Basin.
The 140 billion tonnes of CO2 they could produce is almost four times more than the entire world emits each year.
Saudi Arabia is the second biggest potential emitter after the US, followed by Russia, Qatar, Iraq, Canada, China and Brazil.
Climate campaigners Greenpeace warned in response that ‘while governments dither and discuss, fossil fuel companies are charging full speed ahead with “carbon bomb” projects, pushing us ever closer to an irreversible tipping point.’
‘We need action now,’ the group wrote on Twitter.
Last month the UN secretary general António Guterres said ‘our addiction to fossil fuels is killing us’.
He added that it was ‘now or never’ to start slashing emissions and blasted companies and whose climate actions did not match their words.
‘Simply put, they are lying, and the results will be catastrophic,’ Guterres said.
An investigation found that these schemes could potentially unleash some 646 billion tonnes of CO2 emissions, with around 60 per cent of them already producing oil and gas (stock)
According to a separate report from the Stockholm Environment Institute, most industrialized nations plan to increase oil and gas production, and a number are continuing coal extraction
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