These 14 developments will increase emissions 20% by 2020, thus "locking in" long-term temperature increases in the 5 to 6 degrees Celsius range. Scientists normally call 2 degrees a relatively safe limit. 1: Australia’s coal exports are expected to hit 450 million tons a year above 2011 levels, increasing CO2 emissions by 1,322 million tons.

2: Greenpeace says China’s five northwestern provinces will increase CO2 emissions by 1,543 million tons a year by 2015.

3: On their current pace, U.S. coal exports would add an annual 462 million tons of CO2 a year by 2020.

4: Indonesia "plans a massive expansion in coal exports from the island of Kalimantan, creating dire environmental impacts for the local people and the tropical forests."

5: In Canada, "producers are trying to boost production in the tar sands from 1.5 to 4.5 million barrels of oil per day by 2035. This additional dirty oil would add [778 millon tons] of CO2 to the atmosphere every year."

6: In the Arctic, "if fossil fuel companies succeed with their plans to exploit oil and gas reserves in this fragile environment, there is the potential to add … more greenhouse gas emissions than Germany and the Netherlands combined."

7: Plans by Brazil to extract 4 million barrels of oil a day from underneath the ocean will add 363 million tons of CO2 by 2020.

8: In the Gulf of Mexico, "plans for new deepwater oil drilling would produce 2.1 million barrels of oil a day in 2016, adding [385 million tons] of CO2 emissions, equivalent to the emissions of France in 2010."

9: In Venezuela, "the Orinoco tar sands will produce 2.3 million barrels of new oil a day by 2035, adding [209 million tons] of CO2 in 2020."

Greenpeace says the increase in U.S. shale gas production will add 308 million tons of CO2 to the atmosphere by 2020.

Kazakhstan’s Caspian Sea oil deliveries will emit 320 million tons of CO2 by 2020.

Natural gas development in Turkmenistan, Azerbaijan, and Kazakhstan will add an annual 264 million tons of CO2.

African natural gas deliveries will emit an additional 286 million tons of CO2 a year by 2020, according to Greenpeace.

Iraq’s new oil production will produce 462 million tons of CO2 a year by 2020.

2013-02-14

Co.Exist

The 14 "Carbon Bombs" That Are About To Blow Up The Planet

These projects to increase production of fossil fuels are being planned around the world. But if all of them come to fruition, it may be the last fossil fuels we produce, because the combined effect will be to raise the planet’s temperature disastrously.

If you believe in the possibilities of corporate responsibility--or for that matter, basic human kindness--you probably shouldn’t read Greenpeace’s latest climate change report. It might shake your faith.

Why? Because its conclusion is so stark and so simple, and yet so widely and willfully ignored: If we go ahead with 14 major fossil fuel projects now on the drawing board (you can see them above), we’ll have a good chance of destroying the world as we know it. Or, to put it less emotionally: We’ll sail right through carbon limits most scientists agree are safe for the atmosphere.

Take a look at the slide show for a graphic sense of the danger. From coal production in Australia, China, and Indonesia, to deepwater oil projects in Brazil and the Arctic, to tar sands in Canada and Venezuela, to shale gas and conventional gas in the U.S. and the Caspian Sea, the world is set for a big push on the dirtiest forms of energy development. Together, Greenpeace says the projected output will increase emissions 20% by 2020, thus "locking in" long-term temperature increases in the 5 to 6 degrees Celsius range. Scientists normally call 2 degrees a relatively safe limit--and until recently that was the consensus in the international community as well.

"With total disregard for this unfolding global disaster, the fossil fuel industry is planning 14 massive coal, oil, and gas projects that would produce as much new carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions in 2020 as the entire U.S., and delay action on climate change for more than a decade," the report says.

Of course, you might think the numbers skewed because they come from beardy environmentalists with an agenda. Except, in this case, the numbers aren’t Greenpeace’s. They were commissioned from Ecofys, an environmental consultancy. More than that, the report says essentially the same thing as the International Energy Agency (which last year reported that we could not burn more than one third of fossil fuel reserves by 2050 to remain within 2 degrees), and the World Bank which says we’re on course for a 4-degree increase by century’s end.

Greenpeace says the 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 (see here for the methodology). To stay within the 2-degree increase, emissions have to start falling before 2015, which means canceling, rather than rushing ahead, with some of the plans on the table. That doesn’t seem likely--but it is the wide consensus not only of the enviro-lobby, but of plenty of sensible people who’ve studied the issue.

[All Images: Shutterstock]

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13 Comments

  • wrw

    Ben and his ilk are psychologically damaged.  They eagerly swallow crap-science whole because they are motivated by twisted desires:  anti-man, anti-progress, anti-affluence, Malthusian pseudo-science dogma.  Man  can burn every carbon on the planet he can manage to gather, but it will have no effect on the planet.  Such humanistic vanity and anti-human attitudes are not mutually exclusive.  The hoax of global warming is the most amazing example of mass-delusion since the cult of Hitler or even Tulip-mania.  

  • New Mammal

     That's the type of nonsense I was referring to. Rachael Carson hasn't killed anyone. She presented a study about the effects of petro-chemical toxins. The makers of DDT had the option of finding a less volatile and much more bio-degradable substance. You have the band-aid mindset. Band aids don't actually cure they just temporarily cover wounds. Chemicals like DDT are just a quick fix for problems, such as ecological abuse and third world human reproduction issues. Most first world eco- terrorists(those who terrorize wildlife and wilderness, like Exxon) go on about the poor third world people who have been shafted by ecologists and environmentalists, but they're the first ones to restrict immigration of those people from environmentally decimated countries. Among those eco- terrorists are the right wing religious nuts who think it's wrong for those dirt poor people to practice birth control. When you start adopting children from overpopulated third world countries and start participating in the restoration of badly damaged eco-systems where disease and basic resources, like clean water and game, are accessible then you might seem less ignorant. Mao, Stalin, and Hitler sanctioned murder and rape and Hitler took it a step further by actually attempting to exterminate, through mechanized means, entire ethnicites, such as Slavs, Roma, and Jews. I'd like to see your research on how Rachael Carson followed in their footsteps, and please do not quote any of the quack physicians or pseudo-scientists that have been paid by the contemporary Seven Sisters or their ilk.

  • New Mammal

     Isn't poisoning fishing grounds and rivers anti-man, or better yet anti-life altogether? If others besides you and those you deem worthy are swallowing crap science why don't you list the studies and scientists that you approve of. The planet which you seem to think is a toilet that will just flush all poisons away into some imaginary vortex is is already quite affected by industrial/corporate profiteering. Since your so pro-human why don't you go down to the Gulf of Mexico or to the Nigerian Delta and tell the fishing communities that have subsisted off of the once thriving ecosystems there how oil spills and corporate sponsored massacres are a sign of natural evolution. The hoax of a the dull brained followers, like yourself, and greedy directors of the short sighted extraction industries are a product of delusion, just simple stupidity and lack of innovation. I'll tell you what, genius, burn a bunch of tires, plastics and petro-chemicals, including fuel, in your backyard for a week straight and take a couple of whiffs a day. If you're still able to think straight, then come back and write some more of your nonsense and you'll prove me wrong. We'll see how good carbon burning will will seem to you after you intoxicate your lungs. The reprobate proponents of reckless development are always the most arrogant and dogmatic of all.

  • John Frum

    Funny how some people "notice" (i.e., are suspicious of, and biased to be on the lookout for) "eco-propaganda" and "lack of objectivity" from sources with which they presumptively disagree. Or advocate hand-wringing, because "money talks" trumps "prevention of catastrophic hardship and suffering that could be prevented by application of human intelligence."

    When emotially-fed predetermined conclusions prevent you from thinking about a problem without examining your base assumptions, you've got a problem. The rest of us owe it to ourselves, and to future generations, not to let your problem be our problem.

  • gwvanderleun

    This is just more drool from the colonized little minds that scamper about in the mire.

  • brem

    The article is more than a little misleading. The methodology of the report "counts" the anticipated emissions from the new sources, on the assumption these new sources aren't displacing or replacing existing sources (i.e. assumes the new sources are "net new" above current consumption). The methodology also uses the producer's estimated production, which may or may not be real or economically viable (far be it from a resource company to over-estimate their proven or probable reserves).

    And more importantly, the production of the resources isn't the issue, it is the consumption of the resources - if there was no demand for coal, oil, or natural gas, there would be no incentive to extract it. Instead of demonizing the resource companies, find an economically practical alternative.

    Until there is an economically practical alternative, coal, oil and natural gas will continue to be used, not because anybody *likes* it, but because money talks.

  • Skullbrane

    You fail to understand that the "resource companies" stand in the way of finding practical alternatives.  There ARE practical alternatives, but the "resource companies" either buy the technology to keep it from being implemented, or just buy legislation to maintain the status quo.

    There is NO demand for coal, oil, or natural gas - there is only demand for electricity/power.

  • John Frum

    @brem: Did you read the original reports from Ecofys and the IEA, that were cited by Greenpeace and this article? They don't make the assumption you claim.

  • David McInnis

    Really? Can we trust a report from Greenpeace? Hardly an objective group. What about some real reporting on the subject? How is anyone supposed to come to any valid conclusions with reporting like this.

  • Bobby Burns

    I am sorry, but this strikes me as eco-propaganda and just a lot of hot air. (pun intended)