The ‘carbon bombs’ set to blow up the world’s climate pledges

    During emotional scenes in Glasgow last year, world leaders came together to agree to “phase down” the use of coal. But absent from the UN climate summit was any similar pledge about oil and gas, the fossil fuels that make up more than half of the world’s energy production.

    The environment editor, Damian Carrington, tells Michael Safi that a Guardian investigation has laid bare the reality of what those oil and gas projects add up to: 646 gigatonnes of additional carbon dioxide that would be pumped into the atmosphere unless they are halted. The investigation uncovered 195 “carbon bombs” – projects that would each result in at least 1bn tonnes of CO2 emissions over their lifetimes – and found that the dozen biggest oil companies were on track to spend $103m a day for the rest of the decade, exploiting new fields of oil and gas that could not be burned if global heating was to be limited to well under 2C.

    It’s not too late. The window for effective global action may be closing quickly but world leaders and company executives still have a path to keeping global heating below catastrophic levels. This investigation, however, shows that route is not the one being taken.

    Composite: Guardian/Reuters/AFP/Getty Images/The Guardian

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