(EnergyAsia, January 23 2013, Wednesday) —– Greenpeace said “government hypocrisy” in support of major fossil fuel projects around the world is fuelling climate change and placing populations at risk.
In a new report studying 14 carbon-intensive projects around the world, the environmental group said government support has raised the threat posed by a planned massive global increase in emissions from increased production of coal, oil and gas.
The “Point of No Return” studied major projects related to massive coal production expansion in Australia, China, the US and Indonesia, oil expansion in the tar sands of Canada, the Arctic and Brazil and new gas production in the Caspian Sea and the US.
Consultancy Ecofys, which undertook the study for Greenpeace, found that by 2020, these 14 projects will increase carbon dioxide emissions by six gigatonnes a year. This trend is confirmed by the International Energy Agency (IEA) which reported that carbon emissions are already at a record high of 31.6 gigatonnes despite years of government promises to reduce output.
The Ecofys modelling found that the yearly carbon emissions from these projects will be higher than the total US emissions and will lock in catastrophic global warming.
Even the World Economic Forum, in its Global Risks 2013 report for this year’s gathering in Davos, warns the global temperature is on course to increase by 3.6 to 40C, possibly by 6 degrees. These increases will be well above the promise of governments to keep global warming to below a 20C increase.
“These new climate changing mega projects are the direct result of the hypocrisy shown by a handful of governments. These governments claim they want to prevent catastrophic climate change, but shamefully continue to approve and promote major fossil fuel projects that will lead to climate chaos and devastation,” said Kumi Naidoo, executive director of Greenpeace International.
“Given the human suffering, destruction and economic turmoil of recent extreme weather events, a world with runaway climate change is a frightening prospect. We cannot let that be our legacy,” said Mr Naidoo, who is meeting key business and government leaders at the World Economic Forum in Davos this week.
The report features an Ecofys pathway showing a 75% chance of avoiding climate chaos if emissions peak soon and then drop by 5% a year and emissions from the 14 projects are cancelled. Greenpeace’s Energy [R]evolution shows that renewable energy and energy savings can deliver the energy our economies need.
Mr Naidoo said: “The companies promoting and the governments allowing these massive climate threats must replace them with renewable energy right away and become part of the solution to climate chaos.”