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We’re Supposed To Be Done Finding New Oil and Gas. We’re Not.

We’re Supposed To Be Done Finding New Oil and Gas. We’re Not.

Oil and gas reserves discovered and approved just since 2021 would add an entire year of China’s emissions to the atmosphere. That’s according to a new analysis from Carbon Brief, using Global Energy Monitor Data, and boy is it grim.

A total of 14 billion tons of carbon dioxide are locked up in the new reserves. About 8 billion of that is in brand new discoveries just in 2022 and 2023, with the other 6 billion from previously known reserves newly approved in the last few years. This fossil fuel bonanza is spread around the world, with some areas with brand new or burgeoning industries like Guyana and Namibia playing a big role.

This is not how it is supposed to go right now. In 2021, researchers published a study in Nature that estimated nearly 60 percent of oil and fossil gas needed to remain tucked away in the ground in order to have a chance at limiting warming to 1.5 degrees Celsius, the ambitious (and now likely lost) target set forth in the 2015 Paris Agreement. And that was the oil and gas we knew about then.

“Furthermore, we estimate that oil and gas production must decline globally by 3 per cent each year until 2050,” those researchers added. That’s, uh, not what’s happening so far.

Also in 2021, the International Energy Agency released its first “Net Zero by 2050” roadmap, laying out the pathway to actually decarbonize the world’s economy. In it, a familiar refrain: “Beyond projects already committed as of 2021, there are no new oil and gas fields approved for development in our pathway.”

Then, last year, from Oil Change International, an update: …

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