‘Carbon bomb’ projects must be stopped to limit global warming • Earth.com

A new study conducted by the University of Leeds found that the world’s largest fossil fuel companies are already planning or carrying out 425 “carbon bomb” oil and gas projects that could seriously hamper efforts to limit global warming to 1.5°C above pre-industrial levels. Such initiatives could release more than 646 billion tonnes of carbon dioxide emissions, experts say, and should be stopped urgently if the world is to avoid climate catastrophe.

Despite warnings from scientists that greenhouse gas emissions will have a very negative impact on the global climate, large multinationals such as Shell, Gazprom, ExxonMobil, BP, PetroChina, Petrobras, ConocoPhillips or Chevron (all of which have achieved over $2 million in profits over the past three decades) have already started 60% of these gigantic new oil and gas projects that are estimated to generate at least one billion tons of CO2 emissions each over their lifetime – the equivalent of approximately 18 years of current emissions. The largest of these companies is on track to spend $103 million a day for the rest of the decade to exploit new deposits of oil and gas that clearly should not be burned if global warming is to be limited to much less. of 2°VS

“The oil and gas industry continues to plan these huge projects, even in the face of a burning planet,” said the study’s lead author Kjell Kühne, a fossil fuel expert at the University of Leeds. “The ambitious goals of the Paris agreement were apparently not enough to make them question their business case. These carbon bombs are the biggest indicator that we are not trying hard enough.

According to the researchers, the United States is the main source of emissions, home to 22 of these projects, which have the potential to emit 140 billion tons of carbon dioxide, almost four times more than the whole world does. issues each year. Saudi Arabia is estimated to be the second largest emitter, with 107 billion tonnes, followed by Russia, Qatar, Iraq, Canada, China and Brazil.

“Either scientists have spent 30 years working on this issue and got it wrong – the CEOs of big oil companies know this best – or, behind a veil of concern, they have complete disregard for the most climate-vulnerable communities. , generally poor, people of color and away from their lives. Equally worrying, they are disinterested in the future of their own children,” said climate scientist Kevin Anderson of the Tyndall Center for Climate Change Research.

Defusing these climate bombs should become an important dimension of climate change mitigation policy and activism to avoid disastrous temperature increases that would affect the majority of Earth’s ecosystems.

The study – containing a comprehensive list of carbon bomb projects threatening our planet – is published in the journal Energy policy.

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By Andrei Ionescu, Terre.com Personal editor

Teresa H. Sadler