World Bank To Govts: Halt Fossil Fuel Expansion

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Governments have been urged to immediately halt new coal, oil and gas projects if they expect the world to meet its climate change targets.

This is coming at a time the President of the World Bank, Jim Yong Kim, expressed worry over plans by Asia to build more coal fire stations. Kim said there was no prospect of achieving the goals set out under the historic Paris Climate Change Agreement if current plans for coal-fired stations, especially those planned for Asia, are built.

He reminded a ministerial meeting on climate change in Washington DC that the central goal of the Paris Agreement was to keep the maximum global average temperature rise as close as possible to 1.5 degrees Celsius. He stated that heat-trapping greenhouse gas emissions from coal were a primary cause of climate change, leading to more extreme weather around the world, including storms, droughts and flooding. Kim called on ministers to accelerate the transition to low carbon as a matter of urgency.

According to a new report by Oil Change International, the expected carbon emissions resulting from existing mines and oil and gas fields could amount to 941 billion tonnes – almost 100 million tonnes above the target that underpinned last year’s Paris climate agreement.

Analysis of fossil fuel project by the campaign group, Oil Change Internationals, showed that prospecting for new coal, oil and gas has to stop to prevent the planet overheating. The analysis, the report said, was based on data provided by independent oil and gas consultancy, Rystad Energy, adding that it was a direct challenge to countries such as the UK, which has just pushed through plans for new onshore franking for shale gas in Lancashire, northwest England.

The UK has said it will also ratify the deal before the end of this year, but Oil Change International says its latest analysis points up a major contradiction. Executive Director of Oil Change International, Stephen Kretzmann, said that if the world was serious about achieving goals agreed in Paris, governments must stop the expansion of fossil fuel industry.

“The industry has enough carbon in the pipeline – today – to break through the sky’s limit,” he said. Author of The Sky’s Limit, a new report that contains the analysis, Greg Muttitt, , argued that previous studies on carbon budgets focused on burning of fossil fuels, but his analysis concentrated on what these budgets meant for the supply of fossil fuels in the first place.

“It is the first time a study has looked at current fossil fuel extraction operations and made the logical conclusions based on climate science. Once an extraction operation is underway, it creates an incentive to continue so as to recoup investment and create profit, ensuring the product – the fossil fuels – are extracted and burned,” Muttitt said.

The report noted that there had been a massive increase in US shale oil and gas output over the last five years, even while President Barack Obama took steps to lower the country’s carbon emissions. “Norway is also a leader in “green” initiatives promoting hydro-electricity and electric cars, while still encouraging offshore oil and gas exploration,” the report noted.

Source: New Telegraph

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