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Stop Fossil Fuels

Updated: Oct 18, 2022

Exclusive: Nearly half existing facilities will need to close prematurely to limit heating to 1.5C, scientists say Damian Carrington 7-9 minutes

The Guardian revealed last week that 195 oil and gas “carbon bombs” are planned by the industry. This means projects that would each produce at least 1bn tonnes of CO2. Together, these carbon bombs alone would drive global heating beyond the 1.5C limit.

But the dozen biggest oil companies are on track to spend $103m (£81m) a day until 2030 on climate-busting schemes.

Greg Muttitt, at the International Institute for Sustainable Development, was one of the leaders of the new research and said: “Halting new extraction projects is a necessary step, but still not enough to stay within our rapidly dwindling carbon budget. Some existing fossil fuel licences and production will need to be revoked and phased out early.

Governments need to start tackling head-on how to do this in a fair and equitable way, which will require overcoming opposition from fossil fuel interests.”

Kelly Trout, at Oil Change International, the other lead author of the work, said: “Our study reinforces that building new fossil fuel infrastructure is not a viable response to Russia’s war on Ukraine. The world has already tapped too much oil and gas.” The researchers said governments should accelerate the introduction of renewable energy and efficiency measures instead.

The new study, published in the journal Environmental Research Letters, analysed a database of more than 25,000 oil and gas fields and developed a new dataset of coal mines. The researchers found that fields and mines that have already been developed would lead to 936bn tonnes of CO2 when fully exploited and burned. That is 25 years of global emissions at today’s rate – the world’s scientists agree emissions must fall by half by 2030.

The researchers calculated that 40% of developed fossil fuels must stay in the ground to have a 50-50 chance of global temperature rise stopping at 1.5C. Half the emissions would come from coal, a third from oil and a fifth from gas. The researchers found that almost 90% of developed reserves are located in just 20 countries, led by China, Russia, Saudi Arabia and the US, followed by Iran, India, Indonesia, Australia and Canada.

“This is an absolutely key question,” said Muttitt. “One of the biggest barriers will be the legal infrastructure that oil and gas companies and some coal companies have constructed to defend their investments and their profitability, through treaties like the energy charter treaty [ECT].” The ECT allows companies to sue governments over lost profits. There is some discussion, he said, that European Union nations could withdraw from the treaty en masse.

Dan Jørgensen, the Danish climate and energy minister, said: “The Beyond Oil and Gas Alliance provides a way for governments to act together to begin a managed phase-out of oil and gas production to avoid dangerous levels of climate change.”

Read the full article HERE “Courtesy of Guardian News & Media Ltd”

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