Alberta tar sands among world’s biggest climate threats, Greenpeace says
Greenpeace International has put out a new report that lists the “world’s biggest dirty energy projects”. No surprise—the Alberta tar sands are among the 14 fossil-fuel projects that threaten to lock the world into “catastrophic” climate change, according to Point of No Return.
While many climate experts say global temperature rise must be kept below two degrees Celsius in order to avoid “climate chaos”, the Greenpeace report warns the carrying out of these massive coal, oil, and gas projects would set the world on a path to five or six degrees of warming.
“The huge gap between what governments say they are doing to prevent catastrophic climate change and what they are actually doing is most evident with these 14 projects,” Point of No Return states. “The governments that have approved them have all agreed that the global average temperature must be kept below 2°C.”
Here is Greenpeace’s list of 14 “massive climate threats we must avoid”:
Australia: by 2025, coal exports would increase to 408 million tonnes a year above 2011 levels, pushing associated CO2 emissions up by 1,200 million tonnes a year once the coal is burned. By then, the CO2 emissions caused by Australian coal exports would be three times as large as the emissions from Australia’s entire domestic energy use.
China: China’s five northwestern provinces plan to increase coal production by 620 million tonnes by 2015, generating an additional 1,400 million tonnes of CO2 a year, almost equal to Russia’s emissions in 2010.
The US: plans to export an additional 190 million tonnes of coal a year, mainly through the Pacific Northwest. This would add 420 million tonnes of CO2 a year to global emissions before 2020; more than the entire CO2 emissions from fossil fuels in Brazil in 2010.
Indonesia: plans a massive expansion in coal exports from the island of Kalimantan which would add 460 million tonnes of CO2 a year by 2020, creating dire environmental impacts for the local people and the tropical forests.
Canada: production of oil from the tar sands in Alberta will triple from 1.5 to 4.5 million barrels a day by 2035, adding 706 million tonnes of CO2 to global emissions a year. By 2020, the tar sands expansion would add annual emissions of 420 million tonnes of CO2, equal to those of Saudi Arabia.
The Arctic: Oil companies plan to take advantage of melting sea ice in the environmentally sensitive Arctic region to produce up to 8 million barrels a day of oil and gas. If the plan were to succeed, despite mounting technical obstacles and enormous environmental risks, the drilling would add 520 million tonnes of CO2 a year to global emissions by 2020, as much as the entire national emissions of Canada, and 1,200 million tonnes by 2030.
Brazil: companies intend to extract up to 4 million barrels of oil a day from underneath the Brazilian ocean34, adding 660 million tonnes of CO2 to annual global emissions by 2035.
Gulf of Mexico: plans for new deepwater oil drilling would produce 2.1 million barrels of oil a day in 2016, adding 350 million tonnes of CO2 emissions, equivalent to the emissions of France in 2010.
Venezuela: the Orinoco tar sands will produce 2.3 million barrels of new oil a day by 2035, adding 190 million tonnes of CO2 in 2020.
The US: new production will deliver 310 billion cubic metres a year of shale gas in 2035, adding 280 million tonnes of CO2 by 2020.
Kazakhstan: new production in the Caspian Sea will deliver 2.5 million barrels of oil a day by 2025, adding 290 million tonnes of CO2 in 2020.
Turkmenistan, Azerbaijan and Kazakhstan: new production in the Caspian Sea will deliver 100 billion cubic metres of natural gas by 2020, adding 240 million tonnes of CO2 emissions.
Africa: new production will provide 64 billion cubic metres of natural gas by 2015 and 250 billion cubic metres to 2035, adding 260 million tonnes of CO2 in 2020.
Iraq: new production will deliver 1.9 million barrels of oil a day by 2016 and 4.9 million barrels a day by 2035, adding 420 million tonnes of CO2 in 2020.