If you ever needed further proof that fossil fuel industries and world leaders/government representatives don’t give a shit about tackling global warming (most notably those that are oil and gas investors); then look no further than the ‘carbon bomb’ projects they’re establishing.
Essentially ignoring the legally binding global framework of initiatives as committed to in The Paris Agreement; member countries including (but not limited to) Brazil, China, Canada, Saudi Arabia, Russia and the United States are actively engineering projects that will push global warming temperatures beyond catastrophic levels.
By signing The Paris Agreement, all 192 member countries (and the European Union) collectively understood that climate change is driven by human behaviour; an explicit and present threat to the health of our planet. The goal of this international accord is to reduce emissions and increase actionable policies that limit global warming temperatures to below 2°C; with a preferred target of 1.5°C. However, while promising universal access to clean, affordable energy by 2030 and going net zero by 2050; those in power are green-lighting oil and gas projects that emit cataclysmic amounts of carbon that will push the planet well beyond its 1.5°C tipping point. These vast projects; set to spew out over 600 billion metric tonnes of CO2 are known as ‘carbon bombs’.
The lure of colossal payouts in the years to come appears to be irresistible to the oil companies, despite the world’s climate scientists stating in February that further delay in cutting fossil fuel use would mean missing our last chance “to secure a liveable and sustainable future for all”. | Revealed: The ‘Carbon Bombs’ Set to Trigger Catastrophic Climate Breakdown – The Guardian
Even at an increase of 1.5°C, the impact of this rise will generate more extreme conditions, including; heatwaves, droughts, wildfires, crop failures, melting Arctic sea ice, rising ocean levels, loss of marine life (warming/acidic sea water), flooding and coastal erosion. We can adapt to accommodate these challenges to a point, but it’s unsustainable. Populations that rely on coastal and land-based livelihoods, particularly Indigenous communities are at an ongoing and imminent risk of ecosystem loss, increased food insecurity and poverty. By sticking to the 1.5°C goal, the number of people facing climate-related resource limitation and economic instability could be reduced by 2050; but not if the ‘carbon bomb’ projects are allowed to go ahead.
Some of the world’s largest fossil fuel multinationals are planning (or have already started) 425 ‘carbon bomb’ projects; drilling oil and natural gas that will significantly raise CO2 global emissions. Government leaders and policy decision makers seem to be congratulating themselves for pledging environmental action while actively achieving the opposite to secure our planet’s future.
The reality is that governments of major fossil fuel-producing countries are still not willing to acknowledge the fact that we need a rapid and sustained reduction of coal, oil and gas extraction as part of the global decarbonization effort to meet the Paris Agreement. They remain unwilling, even as climate damages are already widespread and intensifying in all parts of the world. | Ploy Achakulwisut via Thomson Reuters Foundation
Despite a show of willingness to create bold climate emergency action; tax incentives and subsidies that countries offer to encourage fossil fuel exploration and extraction speak to the levels of resistance and insincerity about addressing this issue. I don’t doubt that there are many within government ranks across the world that want to implement robust change to combat global warming; but as things stand today, not enough is being done.
The U.S. is currently leading in planet-heating emissions with 22 ‘carbon bomb’ projects; that if allowed to proceed could emit as much as 140 billion tonnes of carbon dioxide into the atmosphere. To place that into perspective; it’s roughly four times what the entire world emits each year. This is just one country; the devastation brought by this and all other countries pursuing fossil fuel programs of this ilk is unconscionable.
So, what can we do?
Ultimately, it all comes down to those in positions of power who make the decisions about whether or not these projects go ahead. No matter where we live in the world, we must become better informed about who we’re giving the responsibility of safeguarding our future to. We must encourage leaders to fight both domestically and globally to:
- Eliminate government-funded financial incentives provided to fossil fuel companies.
- Weed out legislators who have financial stakes in oil, gas and coal industries, including those receiving campaign contributions/lobbying from them.
- Phase out fossil fuel exploration and extraction; strategically replacing it with green initiatives.
- Put an end to coal, oil and gas production on public lands.
- Robustly regulate current fossil fuel projects to ensure they are minimizing greenhouse gas emissions.
- Hold accountable those industries that do not secure the lowest possible greenhouse gas emissions.
- Encourage a global collective that shares funding, technology and technical expertise to reduce emissions and usher in a contemporary era of green, sustainable energy.
Don’t assume that enough is being done or that your country isn’t guilty of double-dealing when it comes to climate action. By all means, celebrate the measures being put in place that seek to combat the effects of climate change; just stay vigilant. If things like ‘carbon bomb’ projects are allowed to continue, the progress we so desperately need will be undone.
Have you heard of ‘carbon bomb’ projects before? What do you think world leaders can do to combat global warming?
Climate Change 2022: Impacts, Adaptation and Vulnerability – IPCC Sixth Assessment Report