Climate chaos certain if oil and gas mega-projects go ahead, warns IEA chief | Environment

The world’s main vitality economist has warned in opposition to investing in giant new oil and fuel developments, which might have little impression on the present vitality disaster and hovering gas costs however spell devastation to the planet.

Fatih Birol, the manager director of the International Energy Agency (IEA), was responding to an investigation within the Guardian that exposed fossil gas firms have been planning large “carbon bomb” initiatives that might drive local weather disaster.

He mentioned international locations should search to interchange Russian oil and fuel within the close to time period with out damaging their long-term prospects.

“I understand some countries may look at new fossil fuels but they should remember it takes many years to start production,” he mentioned. “[Such projects] are not the solution to our urgent energy security needs and they will lock in fossil fuel use.”

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Revelations by the Guardian present almost 200 carbon bomb initiatives are in planning, or have already began pumping, that can lead to no less than 1bn tonnes of carbon dioxide emissions over their lifetimes, equal to about 18 years of present world emissions.

Companies pursuing such developments might find yourself with uneconomic stranded property, Birol warned. “If the world is to succeed in moving to net zero, these projects may fail to recover their upfront development costs,” he mentioned in an interview with the Guaridan.

Soaring world vitality costs have led governments to hunt new sources of fossil fuels. “I do understand why countries are reacting like this,” he mentioned. “But there is the issue of the time horizon.”

Big new exploratory initiatives for oil, fuel and coal would take years to provide any gas and will lock in excessive greenhouse fuel emissions for many years, Birol warned.

“The most suitable projects are those with short lead times and quick payback periods, such as expanding production from existing fields,” he mentioned.

Using present sources extra effectively would additionally assist cut back emissions, Birol famous.

He mentioned governments should additionally urgently search to scale back fossil gas demand, by residence insulation, reducing velocity limits, making public transport low cost or free and introducing car-free days in cities.

“If we do not have these voluntary measures, I’m afraid that energy rationing may be on the table,” he mentioned.

Birol mentioned not like in earlier oil shocks, reminiscent of these of the Nineteen Seventies, the world now had low cost alternate options obtainable within the type of photo voltaic and wind energy, which had plummeted in value. This ought to immediate governments and firms to push more durable for renewable vitality.

“I believe we have the chance to make this a historic turning point to a cleaner and more secure energy system,” he mentioned. “This is the first time I have seen such momentum behind the change to clean energy.

“The world does not need to choose between solving the energy crisis and climate crisis, we can do both.”

The UN secretary common additionally referred to as for an finish to new fossil gas initiatives, warning that local weather change posed “an existential threat to us all – to the whole world”.

Speaking at a press convention on Wednesday, António Guterres mentioned: “Main emitters must drastically cut emissions, starting now. This means accelerating the end of our fossil fuel addiction and speeding up the deployment of clean renewable energy.”

The IEA suggested virtually precisely a 12 months in the past that no new fuel, oil or coal improvement might happen from this 12 months onwards if the world was to restrict world heating to 1.5C. That discovering brought about shockwaves amongst governments within the run-up to the UN Cop26 local weather summit in Glasgow in November, the place leaders agreed to carry ahead nationwide plans in keeping with the 1.5C restrict.

But many international locations, and personal sector firms, have ignored the recommendation, because the Guardian’s investigation of fossil gas initiatives below improvement has proven. These carbon bombs would in impact remove any hope of staying inside the 1.5C threshold.

Greg Muttitt, an vitality knowledgeable on the International Institute for Sustainable Development, mentioned: “Governments and companies often suffer from a form of cognitive dissonance: while recognising the urgency and severity of the climate threat, they still keep developing new oil, gas and coalfields and mines that will worsen the problem. The policy answer is a simple one: when in a hole, you need to stop digging.”

Greenpeace mentioned the Guardian’s investigation revealed the “fossil fuel industry’s business model remains a blueprint for climate catastrophe”.

“Investment plans by oil and gas firms will blow us past every assessment of what is safe for the climate, and that’s shocking,” mentioned the group’s senior local weather adviser Charlie Kronick.

“But what’s truly shocking is that they are not hiding it. These activities are legal and in fact are encouraged by governments around the world, particularly the ones that have the biggest reserves and the most to lose.”

Caroline Lucas, an MP for the UK’s Green get together, mentioned in response to the Guardian’s investigation: “Governments seem intent on sending us towards our own destruction. How many more times must we tell fossil fuel companies to #keepitintheground?”

Ed Miliband, the shadow local weather change and internet zero secretary, mentioned: “The answer to a global fossil fuel crisis cannot be to double down on fossil fuels. Every country must go further to rapidly accelerate the transition to clean energy.

“That’s the right response to the climate crisis, but it’s also the right response to the cost of living and energy security crises too – with renewables now by far the cheapest and most secure form of energy.

“Governments around the world should be urgently investing in a green energy sprint to shift decisively off destructive, expensive, and volatile fossil fuels for good.”

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