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Fossil-Fuel Doublespeak

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.

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