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‘Carbon Bombs’ could blow up our climate ambitions

Carbon Bombs

          A major investigation by the Guardian newspaper has revealed shocking plans by major oil and gas firms to ignore all the promises of COP26 and plough on with raking in huge profits.

          In ‘Carbon bombs’ set to trigger a climate catastrophe’ (12 May 2022) the Guardian claims that the world’s biggest fuel firms are quietly planning scores of oil and gas projects which would drive the climate past internationally agreed temperature limits, making huge investments in new fossil fuel projects.  At COP26 a commitment was made to cut coal extraction, rather than end it, but no mention was made of oil and gas projects.

          The planet is at Code Red, according to the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC).  The requirement since 2015 was to keep half of known oil reserves and a third of gas reserves in the ground, plus 80% of coal.

          Russia’s invasion of Ukraine may perversely have encouraged firms to double down on oil and gas, as it has pushed their prices even higher, incentivising the major companies to rush for fossil fuels.

          ExxonMobil, BP, Shell, Total, Chevron and Gazprom have huge plans for expansion of oil and gas, as do Qatar Energy and Saudi Aramco.  Analysis from Urgewald claims that companies have committed already to projects delivering 116 bn barrels, and short-term plans include fracking and ultra-deep offshore drilling.  Plans include Arctic exploitation, as well as the Middle East, Russia and North America, and Australia and China are heavily involved.

          A massive offshore pipeline and liquefied natural gas plant in Mozambique is backed by £1bn of UK government money.

          The money involved in the energy game is colossal. Some estimate that the world’s biggest companies are committing $387m a day on capital expenditure to exploit oil and gas to 2030, some of which is for maintaining existing projects, but one third is for new projects inconsistent with climate targets. Further project options would lead to an additional $84m a day commitment which would shatter the targets even more quickly.

          The Guardian calls it betting ‘against humanity halting global heating’.  A major problem is the subsidies by many governments which go to support fossil fuels, amounting to $6 trillion a year, according to the International Monetary Fund.  The US, Canada, Australia and Saudi Arabia are the biggest subsidisers of road fuels.

          Although ExxonMobil is planning $15 bn on lowering greenhouse gas emissions over the next 6 years and developing green energy such as hydrogen and biofuels, and all firms appear to have some plans in place, what they are actually doing does not seem to back this up.  On the contrary, it seems to be full steam ahead on what many believe is a catastrophic path.

for the full article, go to ‘Carbon bombs’ set to trigger a climate catastrophe’ (Guardian, 12 May 2022)

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