Friday, February 22, 2013

Fossil Fuel Powered Carbon Bombs

A February 11th, 2013 Greenpeace report indicated that the fossil fuel industry is planning 14 massive carbon bombs. As stated in the report, "The world is quickly reaching a Point of No Return for preventing the worst impacts of climate change." Taken together massive coal, oil and gas projects will produce as much new carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions in 2020 as the output of the entire US.

According to Greenpeace these projects will increase already unsustainable levels of emissions 20 percent by 2020. If they go forward with these projects we are certain to surpass the carbon limits set by climate scientists which will make it impossible to avoid runaway climate change. According to scientists the upper safe temperature limit is 2 degrees Celsius, however, taken together, these projects will increases global temperatures by 5 or 6 degrees.

Greenpeace says these 14 developments would produce 54,674 million tons of coal, 29,400 billion cubic meters of natural gas, and 260,000 million barrels of oil--but add 330 billion tons of CO2-equivalent emissions by 2050.

Some of the chief culprits identified in the Greenpeace list of 14 carbon bombs are:

Coal production in Australia
Coal production in China
Coal production in Indonesia
Deepwater oil projects in Brazil
Deepwater oil projects in the Arctic
Tar sands development in Canada
Tar sands development in Venezuela
Shale gas and conventional gas in the US
Shale gas and conventional gas in the Caspian Sea

As stated in the report the fossil fuel industry is moving ahead, "with total disregard for this unfolding global disaster."

The results in the Greenpeace report mirror findings in the International Energy Agency (IEA) and the World Bank. In 2012 the IEA reported that we could not burn more than one third of fossil fuel reserves by 2050 to remain within 2 degrees. Last year the World Bank also released a report which indicated that we are likely to see a 4-degree increase by century’s end.

Scientists are warning that time is running out to avert a climate catastrophe. There have also been dire warnings from the WRI, PricewaterhouseCoopers, International Renewable Energy Institute, World Meteorological Organization and UNEP.

The Greenpeace report was created by Ecofys, an environmental consultancy.

© 2013, Richard Matthews. All rights reserved.

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