Activists believe the massive climate agreement world leaders championed as a major victory over climate change falls far short of what is needed, according to a report Tuesday from The Washington Post.
India, China, Turkey and other major contributors to high levels of greenhouse gasses are not doing enough to meet the obligations they made in the deal, the report notes. The world’s economies are ratcheting up production on natural gas, which is contributing to an increase in greenhouse gasses, activists believe.
“It’s not fast enough. It’s not big enough … There’s not enough action,” Corinne Le Quéré, director of the Tyndall Center for Climate Change Research in England, told reporters. Others believe the deal might not be worth the paper former President Barack Obama and others used to solidify the non-binding agreement.
Reports showed last year that the U.S.’s obligations under the deal missed their mark. Obama’s target of 26 to 28 percent greenhouse gas level reductions by 2025 based off 2005 emissions levels won’t be enough to budge the needle, according to an analysis in January by the Rhodium Group.
President Donald Trump eventually pulled the U.S. out of the agreement under the belief that the deal was not adequately negotiated and unfairly targeted American manufacturers. The president suggested that he would be interested in leaping back into the agreement if the deal can be scrapped and re-negotiated.
Activists are not sold on the deal’s prospects, even if Trump re-joins.
Rob Jackson, an energy and climate expert at Stanford University, told reporters that the boom in natural gas production is preventing countries from meeting their goals. He believes the any kind of fossil fuel production should be exorcized to realize the accord’s potential.
“Tremendous gains in energy efficiency and renewable power aren’t yet reducing our global hunger for fossil fuels, especially oil and natural gas,” said Jackson, who also lamented the supposed lack of movement on the issue since the 1992 Framework Convention on Climate Change. “Until they do, greenhouse gas concentrations will keep rising.”
Reports paint a more nuanced picture about the effect natural gas plays on global emissions.
Methane emissions, for instance, dropped over 211,000 metric tons of carbon dioxide equivalent (CO2e) between 2011 and 2016 among Texas’ natural gas-producing counties. Similar reduction levels were noted among the state’s ten largest oil-producing counties.
Production spiked while emissions significantly decreased. Midland County, for instance, produced nearly 73 million barrels of oil in 2016, roughly a 296 percent increase since 2011, according to the report that was conducted using the Environmental Protection Agency’s Greenhouse Gas Reporting Program.
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