Carbon bombs: A Threat to climate goals

World’s leading fossil fuel firms are secretly planning around 195 to 200 projects across nations like the US, Russia, Australia and India which could trigger “catastrophic climate breakdown”. The environmentalists are referring these projects as ‘carbon bombs’. It’s stated that, the emissions released from these projects collectively will overshoot the emissions that had been agreed in the Paris Agreement 2015, which was to contain the global rise in temperature to 2°C.


A specific definition set for ‘carbon bombs’, based on a new research goes as: “Projects capable of pumping at least 1 billion tonnes of carbon dioxide emissions over their lifetimes”. If we consider the emission that comes from US alone, a billion tonnes emission is approximately three-times of what US produces annually.

In the course of their five-month investigation, the climate journalists from the Guardian have pictured together the clearest possible scenario of the upcoming projects of major oil and gas companies. 

As stated in the research report, these projects alone could pump sufficient planet-heating gases into the earth’s atmosphere. If these projects go ahead, it will blow the world far beyond 2°C or even more taking into account the other greenhouse gas emissions that are being emitted globally. The Guardian, on the basis of the report, has estimated that these ‘carbon bombs’ are definitely going to obliterate global climate targets with 646 billion tons of carbon emissions, which poses the potential to swallow up world’s entire climate budget.

Around 60% of these projects (carbon bombs) are already underway in different stages of planning and execution around the world. In addition to fossil fuels (coal, gas and oil operations), the research report also went on highlighting the adverse effects of methane, a potential greenhouse gas that is routinely leaked during gas operations. This methane gas possesses a huge potential to trap 86 times more heat than carbon dioxide in the course of 20 years. Moreover, the report criticized the global reliance on fossil fuels and not switching on to renewable and green sources of energy. 

The most striking disclosure in the report was that these investments in the fossil fuel production would work only if the nations are unable to instantly slash the carbon emissions. This implies to the fact that these nations are set to bet on the world finally failing to reduce emissions.

Unsurprisingly, the nation having a major hand in these planned emissions is the United States with a total of 22 ‘carbon bombs’. As explained by the Guardian, the 22 carbon bombs from the United States would account for over one-fifth of the total emissions that are expected to come from the rest planned carbon bombs globally.

‘Defusing’ the carbon bombs

LINGO (Leave It In the Ground Initiative) is the organization working towards achieving this goal. “Leave fossil fuels in the ground and learn to live without them”, is the mission that this network works for. LINGO holds a firm belief that burning of fossil fuels is the only major cause of climate change and switching to renewable energy source is the only solution.

LINGO is aiming to organize a ground support in order to protest such projects, challenge them through litigation as well as conducting analysis and studies for the same.

The continuous extraction of oil and gas causes extreme harm to climate, to environment and to people. Whatever the policy makers say, they are certainly not winding down on fossil fuels. There is a huge disconnect, kind of jarring lack of alignment between what the government is promising and what the industrialists are doing. In addition, they are only expanding with new exploration and extraction projects against the clear warnings of scientists and dismissing the huge risks from climate change. 

The International Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) issued a report where it stated that the moment is ‘now or never’. The policy makers as well as the oil and gas companies need to implement the regulations that would effectively and rapidly cut down the emissions worldwide. But, what’s happening is exactly the opposite. Oil and gas firms globally, are pushing fossil fuels extraction which is sure to trigger an environmental collapse.

Written By:

Aakansha Raj

Aakansha holds a master's degree in biotechnology and is currently working as a research scholar. An avid reader, Aakansha finds keen interest in reading and writing on areas related to clean energy and zero carbon emissions.

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