CO2 emissions from developed fossil fuel reserves, compared to carbon budgets (as of January 2018) within range of the Paris climate goals. Graphic: Oil Change International

By Ivana Kottasová
18 January 2019

LONDON (CNN Business) – America's push for oil and gas supremacy could lead to a "climate catastrophe," a new report has warned.

The report by Oil Change International said that the United States is set to "unleash the world's largest burst" of carbon emissions from new oil and gas development if it goes ahead with its plans to expand drilling.

"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," the report said.

The United States became the world's largest oil producer last year, surpassing Russia and Saudi Arabia. America's oil output has more than doubled over the past decade, mostly thanks to the huge shale oil boom.

CO2 emissions unlocked by new U.S. oil and gas development, 2018-2050. Graphic: Oil Change International

The International Energy Agency said Friday that US oil output soared by more than 2 million barrels per day in 2018, the biggest jump ever recorded by any country. The agency, which monitors energy markets trends for the world's richest nations, said the growth will continue this year. […]

The report by Oil Change International said that existing oil and gas fields and coal mines already contain enough carbon to push the world beyond the goals of the Paris Agreement.

    "Stopping new projects alone will not be enough to keep warming well below" 2 degrees Celsius, it said.

    "To limit catastrophic climate change, governments must manage the decline of the fossil fuel industry, and do so over the next few decades," it added. [more]

    America's oil boom is terrible for the climate


    Projected annual CO2 emissions of U.S.-produced oil and gas, 2010-2050, by current stage of development. Graphic: Oil Change International

    By Kelly Trout
    16 January 2019

    (Oil Change International) – A new study released by Oil Change International and 17 partner organizations examines the urgent need for U.S. leadership to manage a rapid and just decline of fossil fuel production.

    The United States should be a global leader in winding down fossil fuel use and production. Instead, the U.S. oil and gas industry is gearing up to unleash the largest burst of new carbon emissions in the world between now and 2050. 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.

    Top Countries by Increase in Oil and Gas Production to 2030 (over 2017 baseline). Data: Rystad Energy (November 2018). Graphic: Oil Change International

    Key findings include:

    • Unprecedented Oil & Gas Expansion: Between 2018 and 2050, U.S. drilling into new oil and gas reserves could unlock 120 billion metric tons of new carbon pollution, which is equivalent to the lifetime CO2 emissions of nearly 1,000 coal-fired power plants. If 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.
    • Expansion Hot Spots: Some 90% of U.S. drilling into new oil and gas reserves through 2050 would depend on fracking; nearly 60% of the carbon emissions enabled by new U.S. drilling would come from the epicenters of fracking – the Permian Basin of Texas and New Mexico and the Appalachian Basin across Pennsylvania, West Virginia, and Ohio.
    • Coal – Too Much Already: Given U.S. coal mining should be phased out by 2030 or sooner if the world is to equitably achieve the Paris Agreement goals, at least 70% of the coal in existing U.S. mines should stay in the ground.

    Global oil and gas use in a 1.5°C low-demand pathway, compared to projected U.S. oil and gas production, 2010 to 2050. Graphic: Oil Change International

    These findings show that leadership is urgently needed towards a U.S. fossil fuel phase-out that aligns with climate limits, takes care of workers and communities on its front lines, and builds a more healthy and just economy for all in the process.

    Key recommendations for what U.S. policymakers must do to show real climate leadership:

    1. Ban new leases or permits for new fossil fuel exploration, production, and infrastructure;
    2. Plan for the phase-out of existing fossil fuel projects in a way that prioritizes environmental justice;
    3. End subsidies and other public finance for the fossil fuel industry;
    4. Champion a Green New Deal that ensures a just transition to 100 percent renewable energy; and
    5. Reject the influence of fossil fuel money over U.S. energy policy.

    Drilling Towards Disaster: Why U.S. Oil and Gas Expansion Is Incompatible with Climate Limits

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