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Massive U.S. Oil and Gas Expansion Imperils Global Climate Goals, Oil Change Warns

The United States is “gearing up to unleash the largest burst of new carbon emissions in the world between now and 2050,” with an oil and gas expansion equivalent to nearly 1,000 coal-fired power plants, according to an explosive new analysis released last week by Oil Change International and 17 other organizations.

“At precisely the time in which the world must begin rapidly decarbonizing to avoid runaway climate disaster, the United States is moving further and faster than any other country to expand oil and gas extraction,” Oil Change states in a release. If the country’s 120 billion tonnes of new carbon pollution between 2018 and 2050 are not curtailed, “U.S. oil and gas expansion will impede the rest of the world’s ability to manage a climate-safe, equitable decline of oil and gas production.

Our analysis shows that the United States is set to drive nearly 60% of global growth in oil and gas supply between now and 2030—expanding production by four times the amount of any other country,” writes Senior Research Analyst Kelly Trout. “By contrast, the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC)’s recent Special Report on 1.5°C of Global Warming warns that the world needs to cut carbon emissions nearly in half by 2030 to keep warming within that limit.”

Oil Change says 90% of new U.S. oil and gas drilling through 2050 would depend on hydraulic fracturing, and 60% of it would be located in known epicentres of the country’s fracking industry—the Permian Basin in Texas and New Mexico and the Appalachian Basin in Pennsylvania, West Virginia, and Ohio.

This would bring with it more air and water pollution, health risks, heavy trucks taking over roadways, and growing competition for water,” Trout writes. “It would mean more dangerous pipelines threatening the sovereign land and water sources of Indigenous peoples. It would mean more communities being entangled in a volatile industry that has no viable future on a livable planet.

The report calls for a ban on new fossil leases and permits, a planned phaseout of existing fossil projects, an end to fossil fuel subsidies, support for a 100% renewable energy transition through the Green New Deal, and an end to the influence of fossil money on U.S. politics.

Over the past decade plus, community-led movements have come together across North America to fight new pipelines, fracking rigs, export terminals and, increasingly, petrochemical plants,” Trout states. “But too few U.S. politicians have used their own power to stop this spread of fossil fuel infrastructure and extraction. This is a major reason the oil and gas industry is in a position to drill us towards climate disaster.

Now, “every decision around a new fossil fuel lease, permit, subsidy, or setback is an opportunity for U.S. politicians to stop fossil fuel expansion and champion a just transition to an economy powered by clean energy. The U.S. fossil fuel industry is gearing up to swing a giant wrecking ball through global climate goals. U.S. politicians cannot afford to stand by and let them…or worse yet, help swing it.”

5 Comments (Open | Close)

5 Comments To "Massive U.S. Oil and Gas Expansion Imperils Global Climate Goals, Oil Change Warns"

#1 Comment By Dwight Chizen On January 21, 2019 @ 4:02 PM

politicians must be forced to commit to an ethical standards pledge by voters. this force must be done by media backed by grassroots organizations. surely there is enough data that the public knows how the globe and their futures are imperilled, and media who do not champion this pledge for office holders should be boycotted by consumers for unethical standards. it seems that the only way to effect change is if the public votes with their pocketbook. there must be an ability to recall politicians from their office if they cannot keep their pre-election promises — how this can be accomplished is essential, perhaps if a pledge is broken they must be sued in court for dishonesty, or that not something politicians are supposed to keep?

without each politician pledging to protect the environment, cut excess oil production and basing their commitment to real for breaking the pledge, no voter should consider them for office. however forcing them to honour their pledge is essential.

#2 Comment By Marion Bergevin On January 27, 2019 @ 5:22 AM

To “save the world” from Climate Change catastrophe:
1. No NEW oil, gas, and coal exploration and development; no NEW infrastructure built, (i.e. pipelines, refineries, LNG ), some petro-chemical production, but reduction of plastics; use the existing infrastructure.
2.Transition to Green Energy and renewable technòlogies NOW: Solar, (rooftop/tiles, “farms,” path/road panels, films in skyscrapers); wind, (land, ocean); tidal, geothermal, cogeneration, hemp, high mix alcohol fuels from landfill/wood waste; turbines in water and sewage lines, (and methane collection), etc. Government oil and gas subsidies, go to Green energy and R&D, rebates; carbon taxes to Green energy installations.(jobs, refunds for low income.) The “Green New Deal” implemented globally!
3. War/military-industrial complex: O&G decreases, will limit M. East and other wars, ($6 trillion spent by U.S. alone!), ban $1 trillion for U.S. nuclear upgrade, reduce military bases and personnel to re-trained C.C. workers…$$ saved and greater taxes on the rich, to global Climate Change survival! C.C. will cost $11 trillion, millions of refugees with floods, heat waves/drought; wildfires, etc.; destruction of land and infrastructure, shortages of food and water! Our Choice: $$ for global war or peace?!
4. Protect tropical rainforests, (i.e. Amazon), and Old Growth forests, with carbon dividends for countries with carbon sequestering trees, paid by % of GDP by unforested countries. Also, carbon sequestering agricultural land management strategies; more organic, less factory farms and animal production.(eating less meat, especially beef.)
5. Overpopulation: Education for girls,(especially in developing countries), free birth control, incentives for “1 child families; adoptions;” religious groups discussions on child limits.
6. Recognize it is a global “crisis,” not a debate; “not talk and pollute!” BAU! (Business As Usual!)
7. Youth: Their world’s inherited problems, so a voice now! Climate Change, Environment, all party Politics course (politicians’ presentations) in the Grade 10 cirriculum; any 16 year old who passes, is eligible to vote!
Support a global movement, 350.org …to “change Climate Change!” Our choice…change NOW before it’s too late, (IPCC and Trump’s reports says 2030!)…or “fry and die?!”

#3 Comment By Jona Adams On January 27, 2019 @ 8:43 PM

This is why we need to go full steam ahead on nuclear power. It’s the only technology capable of making fossil fuel economically obsolete.

The only ones against this are people with fossil fuel portfolios and gullible Luddites who can’t science.

#4 Comment By Mitchell Beer On January 27, 2019 @ 9:19 PM

Jona, I’m certain I’m neither a Luddite nor someone who “can’t science”, but I don’t understand how nuclear makes fossil fuels economically obsolete when it consistently *more* expensive then virtually any viable electricity generation option. If you’ve been reading The Mix, I hope you’ve spotted the countless stories we’ve run about solar and wind, now often in combination with affordable storage, undercutting fossils on price. Meanwhile, nuclear projects are just doing what they do — coming in past deadline and over budget.
There are thoughtful arguments for reluctantly including nuclear in the electricity supply mix. I don’t agree with those arguments, but I respect them for both the source and the sincerity of the framing. But I haven’t noticed anyone who accepts nuclear as a measure of climate desperation claiming it’s cost-effective!