Quantcast

As Scientists Warn About Climate Change, Russia Eyes Vast Frack Reserves

Climate

Oil Change International

By Andy Rowell

So tomorrow is the day.

The day that the world’s leading scientists will announce they are more certain than ever that humans are changing the climate.

The report will be met with a frothing load of bile from the usual skeptics linked to a network of right wing think tanks such as the Heartland Institute in the U.S., the Global Warming Policy Foundation in the UK or right-leaning newspapers, many of whom are linked to a certain Mr. Rupert Murdoch.

The skeptical response is nothing new and fits into a well-trodden pattern of denial that now stretches back decades. The scientists Dana Nuccitelli and John Abraham have pointed out that there are five stages of climate denial: deny the problem exists, deny we are the cause, deny it’s a problem, deny we can solve it and claim it’s too late to do anything.

The problem with the denial is that it opens up political space for the oil industry to carry on doing what it does best. Drill for oil and gas.

A parallel universe exists—the climate scientists argue that we have to stop burning fossil fuels—and the industry carries on regardless.

Many organizations and people have argued for a whole that we have to think the unthinkable and leave a large amount of fossil fuels in the ground—somewhere between 50 to 75 percent of reserves.

The latest senior diplomat to do so is Mary Robinson, the former Irish president and UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, who told the Guardian earlier in the week “There is a global limit on a safe level of emissions. That means major fossil fuel reserves must be left in the ground. That has huge implications for economic and social development.”

Try telling that to Russians, to give you one example. The country could be the latest to experience a fracking boom, which could have huge ramifications for the climate.

According to the Financial Times, one estimate of the reserves of the vast Bazhenov geological formation is that it contains as much as 100 billion barrels of recoverable oil, making it five-times larger than North Dakota’s Bakken shale, which has led America’s fracking boom.

Bakken may be big, but the Bazhenov is a giant. “It is bigger than the 10 to 15 next biggest shale plays combined,” Tom Reed, chief executive of Ruspetro, a small oil company with 300,000 acres in the Bazhenov, tells the paper.

No wonder the Russians are excited. “In 20 years, the Bazhenov might be Russia’s main source of oil—even bigger than the Arctic oceans,” Leonid Fedun, vice president of Lukoil, says. “It allows us to be a lot more optimistic about the next 50 years of our oil production.”

So this is the dilemma: the Russians may be looking at 50 more years of oil with excitement, yet many people are arguing that we cannot afford to burn that oil at all, certainly not for another 50 years.

Whether the scientists or oilmen win the defining battle of our time—how and when to wean ourselves off fossil fuels—will shape what this world looks like for our children and grandchildren.

Visit EcoWatch’s FRACKING and CLIMATE CHANGE pages for more related news on this topic.

———

EcoWatch Daily Newsletter

Tim P. Whitby / 21st Century Fox / Getty Images

The beauty products we put on our skin can have important consequences for our health. Just this March, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) warned that some Claire's cosmetics had tested positive for asbestos. But the FDA could only issue a warning, not a recall, because current law does not empower the agency to do so.

Michelle Pfeiffer wants to change that.

The actress and Environmental Working Group (EWG) board member was spotted on Capitol Hill Thursday lobbying lawmakers on behalf of a bill that would increase oversight of the cosmetics industry, The Washington Post reported.

Read More Show Less
A protest march against the Line 3 pipeline in St. Paul, Minnesota on May 18, 2018. Fibonacci Blue / CC BY 2.0

By Collin Rees

We know that people power can stop dangerous fossil fuel projects like the proposed Line 3 tar sands oil pipeline in Minnesota, because we've proved it over and over again — and recently we've had two more big wins.

Read More Show Less
Sponsored
Scientists released a study showing that a million species are at risk for extinction, but it was largely ignored by the corporate news media. Danny Perez Photography / Flickr / CC

By Julia Conley

Scientists at the United Nations' intergovernmental body focusing on biodiversity sounded alarms earlier this month with its report on the looming potential extinction of one million species — but few heard their calls, according to a German newspaper report.

Read More Show Less
DoneGood

By Cullen Schwarz

Ethical shopping is a somewhat new phenomenon. We're far more familiar with the "tried and tested" methods of doing good, like donating our money or time.

Read More Show Less
Pixabay

Summer is fast approaching, which means it's time to stock up on sunscreen to ward off the harmful effects of sun exposure. Not all sunscreens are created equally, however.

Read More Show Less
Sponsored
Mark Wallheiser / Getty Images

The climate crisis is a major concern for American voters with nearly 40 percent reporting the issue will help determine how they cast their ballots in the upcoming 2020 presidential election, according to a report compiled by the Yale Program on Climate Change Communication.

Of more than 1,000 registered voters surveyed on global warming, climate and energy policies, as well as personal and collective action, 38 percent said that a candidate's position on climate change is "very important" when it comes to determining who will win their vote. Overall, democratic candidates are under more pressure to provide green solutions as part of their campaign promises with 64 percent of Democrat voters saying they prioritize the issue compared with just 34 percent of Independents and 12 percent of Republicans.

Read More Show Less
Flooding in Winfield, Missouri this month. Jonathan Rehg / Getty Images

President Donald Trump has agreed to sign a $19.1 billion disaster relief bill that will help Americans still recovering from the flooding, hurricanes and wildfires that have devastated parts of the country in the past two years. Senate Republicans said they struck a deal with the president to approve the measure, despite the fact that it did not include the funding he wanted for the U.S.-Mexican border, CNN reported.

"The U.S. Senate has just approved a 19 Billion Dollar Disaster Relief Bill, with my total approval. Great!" the president tweeted Thursday.

Read More Show Less
Reed Hoffmann / Getty Images

Violent tornadoes tore through Missouri Wednesday night, killing three and causing "extensive damage" to the state's capital of Jefferson City, The New York Times reported.

"There was a lot of devastation throughout the state," Governor Mike Parson said at a Thursday morning press conference, as NPR reported. "We were very fortunate last night that we didn't have more injuries than what we had, and we didn't have more fatalities across the state. But three is too many."

Read More Show Less