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  • Writer's picture Paul Boëffard

WHY CLOSING FOSSIL FUELS VALVES IS CRUTIAL

Updated: Mar 29


IN THIS ARTICLE
  • CO2 Burden: Completion of ongoing fossil fuel extraction projects would result in the atmosphere holding 2.5 times more CO2 than the targeted 1.5°C threshold.

  • Supply-Demand Discrepancy: A drastic reduction in fossil fuel demand cannot occur without a parallel drastic reduction of supply

  • Financial Incentives Solution: The most effective strategy to disrupt the fossil fuel extraction trajectory is the implementation of alternative financial incentives.


Countries, in their unbinding emission targets outlined in their NDCs, often overlook the rapid reduction in fossil fuel production required to meet these goals. The climate battle against fossil fuels has traditionally emphasized demand-side measures, neglecting supply-side initiatives such as shutting down production sources. Despite substantial investments in reducing demand, the overall consumption of oil, coal, and gas continues to rise.


This imbalance leads to paradoxical situations where countries reduce domestic combustion but continue to export emissions through fossil fuel exports.



As of 2023, the remaining carbon budget for limiting global warming to 1.5°C is 380 Gt of CO2 emissions, while developed fossil fuel reserves could produce 915 Gt if fully extracted and burned (Oil Change International).


There are two intuitive scenarios: either fossil fuel infrastructure operates to the end of its economic life, leading to a climate disaster, or those assets become stranded to achieve carbon neutrality by 2050. The financial incentives tied to already-developed projects are pushing for their continued operation to recoup investments and maximize profits. Therefore, the only way to prevent climate catastrophe is to find financial counter initiatives to decommission those assets.


To keep global temperatures below 2°C, the only relevant scenario involves ceasing the development of new fossil fuel extraction and leaving up to 60% of reserves within already-developed projects in the ground.


All climate mitigation policies are futile if fossil fuel valves are not shut down.


The concept of Carbon Bombs highlights 425 fossil fuel extraction projects with a potential emissions exceeding 1 Gigaton of CO2. Defusing these climate threats should be our utmost priority.

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