US Oil and Gas Industry Set to Unleash 120 Billion Tons of New Carbon Emissions

by Vins
Published: Last Updated on

The US oil and gas industry has the potential to “unleash the largest burst of new carbon emissions in the world” through 2050, according to a January 2019 report from Oil Change International, an organization that works to expose the true costs of fossil fuels and advocates for clean energy. Oil Change International’s coverage is based on a study, “Drilling Toward Disaster,” produced in collaboration with, Amazon Watch, Center for Biological Diversity, Food & Water Watch, Greenpeace USA, and other organizations. According to the report, new US oil and gas development could enable 120 billion tons of new carbon pollution, the equivalent to “the lifetime emissions of nearly 1,000 coal-fired power plants.”

Between now and 2030, the US is likely to account for sixty percent of the world’s projected growth in oil and gas production.

According to Kelly Trout, one of the report’s coauthors, the findings present “an urgent and existential emergency for lawmakers in the United States at all levels of government.”

The “Drilling Toward Disaster” report highlights a five-point checklist for what policymakers must do to check climate change, including, for example, bans on new leases or permits for new fossil fuel exploration, production, and infrastructure; the end of subsidies and other public finance for the fossil fuel industry; and championing a Green New Deal to promote transition to 100% renewable energy.

Asserting that there is “no more time to waste,” another of the report’s coauthors, Lorne Stockman, noted that, although the Trump administration and fossil fuel backers “portray climate change as a false choice between the economy and the environment,” their actions “favor an irresponsible and outdated fossil fuel sector over a clean energy sector that has proven it can deliver on jobs, economic growth, and reliable cheap energy.”

Source: David Turnbull, “Report: U.S. Oil and Gas Expansion Threatens to Unleash Climate Pollution Equivalent to Nearly 1,000 Coal Plants,” Oil Change International, January 16, 2019,

Student Researcher: Tommy Hunt (City College San Francisco)

Faculty Evaluator: Jennifer Levinson (City College San Francisco)