Fossil fuel companies continue to expand despite climate emergency, says think-tank

The Center for Energy, Ecology, and Development (CEED), a sustainability think-tank, said that in the midst of the climate emergency, recently seen as typhoon Paeng’s (international name Nalgae) destructive journey through the Philippines, oil, and gas companies are continuing the expansion of their operations, putting into doubt the ability of the world to achieve the 1.5°C limit to global warming needed to halt further climate change.

CEED cited a report from Urgewald’s Global Oil and Gas Exit List (GOGEL) which showed that 96% of companies involved in producing or exploring oil and gas have plans to expand their operations 20% above 2021 levels.

“512 oil and gas companies are seeking to bring into production 230 billion barrels of oil equivalent before 2030, according to GOGEL. Making use of these fuels will release the equivalent of 115Gt of carbon dioxide into the atmosphere. To put it into perspective, this much carbon dioxide is 30 times the annual emissions of the entire European Union,” said Avril de Torres, Deputy Executive Director of CEED.

De Torres says that Philippine companies – despite the experience of Paeng, Odette, and other recent typhoons – are among those who seek to increase the use of fossil fuels despite the country being among the most vulnerable to climate change.

“Shell is now planning to operate an LNG terminal in Batangas, which would facilitate the importation of liquefied natural gas into the country. The House of Representatives is also now deliberating on the passage of a law to develop the natural gas industry in the country, further increasing the Philippines’ consumption of this fossil fuel even as we continue to suffer from more frequent destructive typhoons,” said de Torres.

Natural gas, more appropriately termed fossil gas, is considered a “bridge fuel” to help the transition to renewable energy from sources like coal and oil. However, de Torres added, that the country neither has a coal phase-out policy in place to ensure that gas replaces coal, nor restrictions on lifespan, capacity, or emissions on gas projects to ensure that they operate only as a bridge.

“Fossil gas is the lesser evil when compared to coal, but it is still evil. It is a fossil fuel that increases greenhouse gas emissions at a time when the world can barely meet the 1.5°C goal. The only viable solution is to expedite the transition to renewable energy to ensure that there is a rapid and just transition from fossil fuels to renewable energy,” said de Torres.

Photo credit: Pexels/Aleksandr Slavich

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