The US Is Set To Drown The World In Oil

If things don’t change, by the end of the next decade, new oil and gas fields in the US will produce more than twice what Saudi Arabia produces today.

The future of our changing climate and its increasingly devastating impacts across the globe will be shaped by future oil and gas production. And if the future of oil and gas production is decided by what happens in new fields, then it will be determined by what happens in the US in the next decade.

More oil and gas is a big problem

To avoid the worst impacts of climate change, our analysis shows that global oil and gas production needs to drop by 40% over the next decade. Yet, instead of declining, US oil and gas output is set to rise by 25% over this time, fueled by expansion in new fields. 

By now, it should go without saying that burning more fossil fuels is a disaster for the world’s climate. Each extra barrel of oil that comes out of the ground becomes more planet-warming CO2 going into the atmosphere.

The recent National Climate Assessment starkly laid out the risks the US faces from climate change. These include more extreme temperatures, rainfall, high tides, coastal flooding and forest fires, as well as worsening air quality, all threatening the health and wellbeing of the American people. These risks are highest for those that are already vulnerable, including low-income communities, some communities of color, children, and the elderly. The financial costs are staggering too, under a high emissions scenario where the world fails to mitigate climate change costs to the US economy could exceed $500 billion a year by 2090.

In addition to these harmful impacts and costs in the US, impoverished countries will continue to be hit the hardest by climate change and are at a disadvantage when it comes to managing these impacts.

So if all this new oil and gas production goes ahead in the US, it would drown the world in oil and gas – slowing down the shift from fossil fuels to renewables and releasing vast amounts of planet-heating greenhouse gases.

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