Your Fault: The Carbon Bombs That Could Obliterate Net-Zero

“They are lying, and the results will be catastrophic.”

This is what UN secretary-general António Gutteres said of the companies and governments greenwashing their climate action. 

The Paris Agreement was 7 years ago, COP26 was last year and COP27 is getting closer, but how much can we say we’ve really achieved? Words and promises don’t mean anything when there isn’t real action and real change to back them up. 

Now, we’re beginning to see a new trend in fossil fuel production and consumption – the carbon bomb, a fossil fuel project that is predicted to release 1 billion tonnes of carbon dioxide emissions in its lifetime. These bombs are primed to go off, and the results will be disastrous. In fact, they may destroy everything that climate activists have been working towards for decades. 

Current examples include the gas reserves of the Marcellus Shale in the US, the Tavan Talgoi coal mine in Mongolia, and, the newest entry, the North Field gas fields in Qatar. Alone, these three examples are predicted to emit 26.7 billion, 16 billion, and 11.6 billion tonnes of carbon dioxide in their lifetimes respectively. 

There are 425 carbon bombs across the globe. When put together, they could be responsible for 646 billion tonnes of CO2. 60% of these are currently in operation, and scientists have warned that if the remaining 40% go ahead, they could plunge the world into irreparable climate disaster. The globe’s current carbon budget for keeping temperatures under a 1.5C temperature increase is 500 billion tonnes, and these carbon bombs blow right past that. How can humanity justify even 500 billion tonnes of carbon? It’s just crazy. 

The North Field gas field, responsible for 11 billion tonnes of CO2

Right now, the US is responsible for the most emissions from carbon bomb projects, at a staggering 140 billion tonnes. Saudi Arabia and Russia follow closely behind with 107 billion tonnes and 83 billion tonnes respectively. The up and coming countries are Canada (27 billion tonnes) and Qatar (43 billion tonnes). Ironically, many of the countries with the highest carbon bomb emissions are also ones that have pledged to reduce their carbon output in line with net-zero targets for 2050, something that will be impossible if these projects continue. 

Of course, it all boils down to money, and you! Governments and corporations alike will go where the money leads, without turning around to see the destruction left in their wake. But you are buying what they are selling. Despite constant warnings from climate scientists that the world is getting closer and closer to irreparable damage, the big corporations of the fossil fuel industry are seeing increased profits and expansion. 

Because you keep buying it.

In just the short-term, the largest oil companies are expected to produce 192 billion barrels of fossil fuel products, releasing atmospheric levels of CO2 in the process. Even more shockingly, spending on expanding these carbon bombs will cost a combined $387 million a day, and the 20 biggest oil and gas companies are on track to spend $932 billion on developing new oil and gas fields by 2030. 

Because you keep buying it. 

With the current energy crisis impacting people’s pockets and companies’ bottom lines, one might be tempted to think that fossil fuel companies are struggling financially. Actually, it’s the complete opposite, they’re thriving. Practically all the big oil and gas companies have seen profits rise in the past two years. 

Because you keep buying it. 

China’s Sinopec saw revenue of $424.8 billion in 2021. In the same year ExxonMobil saw $285.6 billion, and Shell saw $272.6 billion. Now, as energy bills are soaring, BP announced that they saw their largest profit in 14 years between April and June 2022, leaving the public angry and confused at why their bills are skyrocketing whilst the big companies are raking in the cash.

Because you keep buying it. 

In May 2021, the International Energy Agency (IEA) published a report stating that in order to achieve net-zero by 2050, no new oil, gas, or coal developments can be built. Since then, the fossil fuel industry has shown no signs of stopping. In fact, it’s growing ever bigger, with the coal industry increasing 9% in the past year. 

Because you keep buying it. 

Our dependence on fossil fuels can’t last forever. They’re a finite resource and they’re destroying our planet. Without immediate action, we are primed to blast past the 1.5C pledge, and we will see devastating climate destruction because of it. It’s time we stop letting these goliath conglomerates get away with poisoning our planet – we can’t let these carbon bombs explode. The solution is this: stop buying it. Force your governments to immediately transition to renewables. 

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