On paper, almost every government in the world is committed to reducing greenhouse-gas emissions and keeping global temperatures limited to 1.5°C above pre-industrial levels. But too many governments, parroting the oil and gas industry's misleading claims, are actually supporting the expansion of fossil-fuel production.
BERLIN – Since the Paris climate agreement was signed in 2015, too many policymakers have fallen for the oil and gas industry’s rhetoric about how it can help to reduce greenhouse-gas emissions. Tall tales about “clean coal,” “oil pipelines to fund clean energy,” and “gas as a bridge fuel” have coaxed governments into rubber-stamping new fossil-fuel projects, even though current fossil-fuel production already threatens to push temperatures well beyond the Paris agreement’s limit of well below 2° Celsius above pre-industrial levels.
The International Energy Agency (IEA) estimates that in 2016, investment in the oil and gas sector totaled $649 billion, and that fossil-fuel subsidies within the G20 countries amounted to $72 billion. And by 2030, investments in new gas projects across G20 countries are expected to surpass $1.6 trillion.
Clearly, the industry has pulled out all the stops to expand production and profits before the world moves to a decarbonized economy. And so far, it is succeeding, because it has convinced governments of multiple falsehoods.
We hope you're enjoying Project Syndicate.
To continue reading, subscribe now.
Get unlimited access to PS premium content, including in-depth commentaries, book reviews, exclusive interviews, On Point, the Big Picture, the PS Archive, and our annual year-ahead magazine.
Already have an account or want to create one? Log in