Shell, Statoil Projects ‘Could Push Climate to Point of No Return’
Shell, Gazprom, BHP and other fossil fuel companies are involved in 14 massive coal, oil and gas projects that would produce as much new carbon dioxide emissions in 2020 as is currently emitted by the entire US, and would delay action on climate change for more than a decade, according to a Greenpeace report prepared by consultancy Ecofys.
According to Point of No Return, burning the coal, oil and gas from these 14 projects would significantly push emissions over what climate scientists have identified as the “carbon budget,” the amount of additional CO2 that must not be exceeded in order to keep climate change from spiraling out of control.
The project that threatens climate change the most is Chinese coal mining, the report says. China’s five northwestern provinces plan to ramp up coal production by 620 million metric tons by 2015. This increase would generate an additional 1.4 billion metric tons of greenhouse gasses, the report says. Companies involved include China Datang Corporation, China Guodian Corporation, China Huadian Corporation, China Huaneng Group, China Power investment Corporation and Shenhua Group Corporation.
Other projects are:
- US: increases in coal exports, mainly through the Pacific Northwest. Companies involved: Peabody Coal, Arch Coal, Ambre Energy.
- Canada: production of oil from Alberta tar sands. Companies involved include Shell, Statoil, Total and Enbridge.
- The Arctic: oil companies plan to take expand extraction by taking advantage of melting sea ice. Companies involved include Shell, Gazprom, Cairn Energy, Exxon Mobil, Rosneft, Statoil.
- Australia: increases in coal exports. Companies involved: Xstrata, BHP Billion, Peabody, Anglo American, Rio Tinto, Vale, Yancoal, Waratah Coal, Vale, Macmines Austasia, Adani and GVK.
- Indonesia: increases in coal exports from the island of Kalimantan. Companies involved: KPC, Adaro, BHP, Banpu.
- Brazil: companies plan to extract oil from underneath the ocean. Companies involved include Petrobrás, BP, Shell, Chevron, Total, Statoil.
- US: new shale gas production.
- Gulf of Mexico: deepwater oil drilling plans.
- Venezuela: oil drilling in the Orinoco tar sands.
- Kazakhstan: new oil production in the Caspian Sea.
- Turkmenistan, Azerbaijan and Kazakhstan: new natural gas production in the Caspian Sea.
- Africa: new natural gas production.
- Iraq: new oil production.
The magnitude of CO2 from all of these projects in the next few years would push the climate beyond the point of no return, locking the world into a scenario leading to catastrophic climate change, Greenpeace says.
In September last year, Shell halted its Arctic drilling program for 2012 after a containment dome to cap potential spills was damaged. The time needed to repair the dome meant that Shell didn’t have enough time to deep-drill off Alaska in 2012.
On New Year’s Eve, Shell’s drilling rig the Kulluk ran aground in the Gulf of Alaska, while being towed to Seattle for maintenance. In light of these and other issues, the Interior Department is now reviewing the company’s Arctic drilling efforts.
Shell has invested $4.5 billion in offshore leases and equipment and fought at least 50 lawsuits from environmental groups opposing the first Arctic wells in about 20 years, according to the San Francisco Chronicle.
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