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How 'carbon bombs' could blow up climate action

Some 195 oil and gas projects identified globally threaten to release 646 gigatons of carbon. If fully exploited, they could demolish our best-laid climate action plans.
A pumpjack works at a wellhead on an oil and gas installation near Cremona, Alta., in October 2016. (Jeff McIntosh/The Canadian Press)

A new investigation from the Guardian's climate journalists shows that oil and gas investment continues globally on 195 projects that would each release more than one gigaton of carbon if the reserves were fully exploited.

This, despite the fact that scientists say 60 per cent of oil and gas reserves will need to stay in the ground if we want to avoid heating the Earth by 1.5 C.

If you add up all of the carbon that could be released from these oil and gas "carbon bombs," Canada is in sixth place as one of the worst potential polluters. We're home to nine sites that could release more than 27 gigatons of carbon.

Canada is also home to three coal carbon bombs.

Damian Carrington is the environment editor for the Guardian. He says the ongoing investment in these projects reveal an oil and gas industry that does not believe the world will achieve its climate goals.


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