Ocean Rebellion demonstrators protest against the use of fossil fuels in the shipping industry, in London, Monday, Nov. 21, 2022.
As climate activists and politicians began leaving the Cop27 climate conference in Egypt today, it emerged that the giant gas and oil producers were finalising plans for more new fossil fuel production sites.
The news that companies such as Qatar Energy, Gazprom, Saudi Aramco, ExxonMobil, Petrobras, Turkmengaz, TotalEnergies, Chevron and Shell are all planning new production sites comes as negotiators faced criticism for failing to tackle soaring carbon emissions at the climate talks.
About 636 fossil fuel industry lobbyists were in Sharm-el-Sheikh — an increase of more than 25 per cent compared with last year in Glasgow.
There were more fossil fuel delegates at the climate talks than any single national delegation, besides the United Arab Emirates, which registered 1,070 delegates compared with 176 last year.
In a report unveiled during Cop27, the US NGO Oil Change International revealed that new fossil fuel projects approved, or in the process of being approved between 2022 and 2025, could lead to 70 billion tonnes of CO2 being emitted into the atmosphere over the course of their operation.
Projects approved in 2022 alone are responsible for 11bn tonnes of CO2.
One of the projects, by French company TotalEnergy, is for the drilling of 400 wells and then for the oil to be exported through the huge East African Crude Oil Pipeline.
These two projects combined will be responsible for emitting more than 34 million tonnes of CO2 per year.
“Some 90 per cent of the CO2 emissions emitted by humans are linked to fossil fuels,” says Jean-Marie Breon, a climatologist at the Climate and Environmental Sciences Laboratory. The remaining 10 per cent is linked to deforestation.
Faced with the urgency of the situation, climate activists have called for a non-proliferation treaty on fossil fuels — based on the same model as the nuclear non-proliferation treaty.
“Launched in 2020, the idea is now supported by the European Parliament, the WHO, around 70 cities including Paris, London, Lima and Calcutta, 100 Nobel Prize winners, 3,000 scientists and 1,800 civil society organisations,” says Alex Rafalowicz, the initiative’s director.
Mr Rafalowicz said: “The subject was not clearly discussed until Cop26 last year.
“Until then, we were merely talking about reducing CO2 emissions and developing renewable energies, without really pointing to the main cause of global warming.
“The aim is to stop the expansion and construction of new fossil fuel infrastructure and then gradually reduce production,” Mr Rafalowicz said.