$4.9trn of planned fossil fuel investment ‘incompatible’ with Paris goals

A massive $4.9trn (£3.8trn) of planned investment in new oil and gas exploration and extraction over the next decade is incompatible with the Paris Agreement’s goals.


That is according to a new report from Global Witness, which said the planned investment could only align with the Paris goals if there is huge carbon capture and removal.

But the international NGO warned that this technology remains unproven at scale, highlighting how there are only two power stations currently capturing CO2 worldwide.

“There is an alarming gap between the plans of oil and gas majors and what the latest science shows is needed to avoid the most catastrophic climate breakdown,” report author, Murray Worthy, said.

“Investors will rightly be concerned that, despite industry rhetoric to the contrary, the oil and gas sector’s spending plans are so drastically incompatible with limiting climate change.”

The report forecasts ExxonMobil to spend the most on fossil fuel exploration and extraction in new fields over the next decade, followed by Shell.

When taken with Chevron, Total and BP, these five oil and gas majors are set to spend over $550bn on fossil fuel investment that is incompatible with the Paris goals.

And some of the scenarios that would align the investment with the Paris goals would require nearly as much CO2 being captured from the atmosphere this century than has been emitted since the Industrial Revolution.

Global Witness said the industry is at a “crucial turning point” because capital investment has fallen by over a third since 2014, but is set to rise by 85% over the next decade.

The report comes ahead of Shell and BP’s annual general meetings next month, where they are expected to face tough questions from investors.

“This analysis should encourage the escalation of investor engagement efforts to challenge oil and gas majors to credibly align their business plans with the Paris goals,” Worthy continued.

“Blindly pushing ahead comes with huge financial risks for investors, either as a result of the transition to a low-carbon economy, or as the devastating consequences of a changing climate stack up.”


Image credit | iStock

Chris Seekings is a reporter for TRANSFORM

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