MADRID, May 18 (IPS) – While the attention of the mostly Western media and politicians is almost exclusively focused on the proxy war in Ukraine and its consequences for the energy sector, the big global oil business continues to burn the planet Land with its underreporting though highly polluting and wasteful practice of gas flaring.
This is anything but a minor problem: in fact, as much as 144 billion cubic meters of gas were flared at upstream oil and gas facilities in just one year, 2021. Such an amount caused the emission of 400 tons of carbon dioxide ( CO2) equivalent, according to the World Bank.
Burning is “a monumental waste of a valuable natural resource” that must be used for productive purposes, such as generating energy, or conserved.
Enough to feed all of sub-Saharan Africa…
For example, the amount of gas that is currently flared each year (about 144 billion cubic meters) could supply all of sub-Saharan Africa, explains the World Bank.
… And generate 65% of Europe’s domestic energy
Yet the world still burns enough gas to generate about 1,800 terawatt hours (TWh) of power, nearly two-thirds of the European Union’s net domestic electricity generation.
But what is gas flaring?
Gas flaring is the burning of natural gas associated with oil extraction. The practice has persisted since the beginning of oil production more than 160 years ago and is carried out due to a variety of problems, from economic and market restrictions to a lack of adequate regulation and political will, explains the World Bank. .
Its Global Gas Flaring Reduction Partnership (GGFR) report estimates that global gas flaring increased to 144 billion cubic meters (bcm) in 2021 from 142 bcm in 2020.
“Gas flaring contributes to climate change and impacts the environment through the emission of CO2, black carbon and other pollutants. It is estimated that each cubic meter of associated gas burned produces around 2.8 kilograms of CO2 equivalent emissions”.
Ten countries account for 75% of gas flaring
In its May 2022 report, the World Bank also specifies that only ten countries account for three quarters of gas flaring.
Of these ten, seven oil-producing countries (Russia, Iraq, Iran, the United States, Venezuela, Algeria, and Nigeria) have consistently remained in the top seven for the past ten years.
Ending flaring and methane emissions is key to the energy transition, yet global progress to reduce it has stalled over the last decade, further underscoring the urgency of accelerating the decarbonisation of the world’s economies.
Subsidize climate disasters
Despite the scientifically proven fact that the oil, gas and coal industry is a major contributor to global warming, politicians continue to subsidize the fossil fuel business with staggering amounts of taxpayer money.
In fact, in a 2021 study, Energy Prices Still Not Right: A Global and Country Update on Fossil Fuel Subsidies, the International Monetary Fund (IMF) reports that globally, fossil fuel subsidies fossil fuels were US$5.9 trillion in 2020 or about 6.8 percent. of the Gross Domestic Product (GDP). And that such subsidies are expected to rise to 7.4 percent of GDP in 2025.
In the case of the United States, the government provides a heavy public subsidy to oil companies, with significant tax breaks at virtually every stage of oil exploration and extraction, including oil field and drilling equipment leasing costs.
the gloomy picture
The lucrative fossil fuel industry seems unconcerned about the very real dangers of mounting climate emergencies.
Such emergencies are already here. For example, there is a 50:50 chance that the annual average global temperature will temporarily reach 1.5°C above the pre-industrial level for at least one of the next five years, and the probability increases over time, according to a new climate. update issued by the World Meteorological Organization (WMO).
There is a 93% chance that at least one year between 2022 and 2026 will become the warmest on record, displacing 2016 from the highest ranking.
The probability that the five-year average for 2022-2026 will be higher than the last five years (2017-2021) is also 93%, according to the Global Annual to Decadal Climate Update, produced by the UK Met Office, a leading of the WMO. center of such predictions.
Not just a random stat
The chance of temporarily exceeding 1.5°C has increased steadily since 2015, when it was close to zero. For the years between 2017 and 2021, there was a 10% chance of passing. That probability has risen to nearly 50% for the 2022-2026 period, the WMO reported on May 9, 2022.
“This study shows, with a high level of scientific skill, that we are getting considerably closer to temporarily reaching the lower goal of the Paris Agreement on Climate Change. The 1.5°C figure is not a random statistic.
“It is rather an indicator of the point at which climate impacts will become increasingly harmful to people and indeed to the entire planet,” said WMO Secretary-General Prof. Petteri Taalas.
The dangers that lie ahead
“As long as we continue to emit greenhouse gases, temperatures will continue to rise. And along with that, our oceans will continue to warm and become more acidic, sea ice and glaciers will continue to melt, sea levels will continue to rise, and our weather will become more extreme. Arctic warming is disproportionately high and what happens in the Arctic affects us all.”
More blah blah blah?
The 2015 Paris Agreement sets long-term goals to guide all nations to substantially reduce global greenhouse gas emissions to limit global temperature rise this century to 2°C while efforts are made to limit global warming. increase further to 1.5 °C.
Meanwhile, under heavy pressure from big business, politicians continue to spout empty promises, setting new commitments that will never be met, laughing at world summits and big international gatherings. So that?
© Inter Press Service (2022) — All rights reservedOriginal source: Inter Press Service