425 "climate bombs" could destroy the fight against global warming

425 “climate bombs” could destroy the fight against global warming

The Red Hill project in Australia, Montney Play or Christina Lake in Canada, the Hongshaquan mine in China, the Hambach and Garzweiler mine in Germany … This list will largely determine the future of the planet. For the first time, researchers have located and located the world’s largest fossil fuel extraction projects. They are also called “carbon bombs” or “climate bombs,” which they define as coal, oil and gas infrastructure that can emit more than a billion tons of carbon dioxide.2 over their operational life.

According to these works, Published Thursday, May 12 in the magazine energy policyThere are now 425 “climate bombs” in the world, already in operation or still in the planning stages, distributed over 48 countries. If they were all exploited to their fullest, their combined potential emissions would represent twice the global carbon budget – that is, the emissions cap – which should not be exceeded in order to hope to maintain global warming to 1.5°C compared to the pre-industrial era. Enough to abolish the goals of the Paris climate agreement and combat climate change.

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Shutting down the “carbon bombs”: a priority

In recent years, scientists, as well as the largest international organizations, have come to the conclusion that coal, oil and gas must be disposed of. Major emitters must reduce their emissions significantly at presentThe Secretary-General of the United Nations, Antonio Guterres, reiterated on May 11. It means accelerating the end of our dependence on fossil fuels. »

However, the issue of fossil fuels, which are responsible for 80% of greenhouse gas emissions, has not yet been sufficiently at the heart of the climate negotiations, recalls Kjell Coheny, a doctoral student at the University of Leeds in the UK. Yoni, lead author of the study and one of the founders of the campaign Leave it on the ground (“Leave it in the ground”), launched at the end of 2011. COP26, held in Scotland in the fall of 2021, was the first to see countries collectively commit to reducing coal use.

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“Conversations about what level of greenhouse gas emissions to achieve or the percentage of reductions can be really abstract, Kjell Kühne notes. The idea of ​​”climate bombs” is more tangible and can help figure out how to make a tangible and tangible impact in each country. » Germany, for example, has two “carbon bombs,” two lignite mines: closing them should be a priority, study authors say. In all, 40% of 425 projects and infrastructure did not start production in 2020.

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