Oil Initiatives, Technology, and Climate Change…

Using non-existent technology as a justification for destructive operations

With climate change concerns growing, threats to the oil and gas sectors are multiplying. More than ever, there is a need for proof that current and future extraction initiatives are in line with climate goals.

A report released by IPCC last October confirmed that shooting for an increase inferior to 1.5C in global warming was a realistic goal which would also allow for the worst impacts of climate change to be mitigated across various sectors.

Global Witness released an alternative report which reveals that current initiatives and
forecasted investments in oil and gas exploration are sure to be inconsistent with the goals set out in the Paris agreement. Among other changes it calls for, its modelling software displays the need for a 40% decrease in production in the next 10 years, if global warming goals are to be met. This report is quite unique – other climate scenarios often rely chiefly on the use of technologies which aren’t yet fully developed, thereby making assumptions about the future which are inherently unfounded and circumstantial at best.

Energy companies are projected to spend hundreds of billions of dollars on new oil and gas extractions before 2030. While they claim that their ambitious plans will fall in line with their environmental goals, this relies on the assumption that carbon-capturing and carbon-removing technologies will be effective enough to reverse the potential consequences of their actions before the Paris agreement’s goals are set to be met.

Technology will undoubtedly play a crucial and primary role in the fight against climate change. In many cases, it is the only hope we have in regards to solving – or surviving – our planet’s troubling environmental issues. But carrying out operations which are knowingly furthering environmental destruction, relying on justifications founded on the eventual development of a miracle technology is a flawed approach, and a dangerous one.

Madeleine Bienvenu

References:

https://www.ipcc.ch/site/assets/uploads/2018/11/pr_181008_P48_spm_en.pdf

https://www.globalwitness.org/en-gb/campaigns/oil-gas-and-mining/overexposed/

https://www.ft.com/content/08453afc-61e8-11e9-b285-3acd5d43599e

https://www.ft.com/content/da48cd04-4b2f-11e9-8b7f-d49067e0f50d

 

Photo by Patrick Hendry on Unsplash

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