Colossal fossil ConocoPhillips has come up with a startling climate adaptation strategy for a new pipeline it wants to build on Alaska’s North Slope. It plans to run giant chillers to refreeze the permafrost beneath the pipes, thereby consuming more energy to protect the infrastructure from the global climate crisis the company has helped create.
Business Insider sums up the story in an August 17 headline: “An oil company wants to use giant chillers to refreeze the ground that climate change is thawing in order to drill for more oil—which will ultimately accelerate global warming.”
ConocoPhillips is one of the biggest fossils in the U.S., and “has proposed a large drilling project in northern Alaska, where climate change is causing the permafrost to melt,” Business Insider writes. But melting permafrost could damage the pipeline, so “the company is planning to use chillers called thermosyphons to prevent the ground from thawing underneath key infrastructure.”
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The plan showed up in an environment impact statement the colossal fossil published toward the middle of last month. Citing a report on Bloomberg Law, Business Insider says Donald Trump’s Bureau of Land Management (BLM) has already approved the plan, while observing that the pipeline itself could accelerate thawing of the ground.
“The project, known as Willow, could produce more than 160,000 barrels of oil per day over a period of about 30 years, during which climate change is likely to worsen warming,” the news story states, citing BLM. “In the last 60 years, average temperatures in the region rose by 3°F (1.6°C), and they’re expected to increase by as much as 12°F (6.6°C) by the end of the century” if global greenhouse gas emissions keep rising.
“Climate change is affecting the Arctic and our operations, but these effects are incremental, which means they can be effectively monitored and addressed as they arise,” a ConocoPhillips spokesperson wrote. “For example, in addition to closely monitoring changes in the depth of the usual summertime thawing of the permafrost surface layer each year, where necessary we use cooling devices (thermosyphons) that can chill the ground enough in the winter to help it remain frozen through the summer.”