Canada 2020: Justin Trudeau at Canada 2020
Canada 2020: Justin Trudeau at Canada 2020

Last week, we released a groundbreaking new study that crunched the numbers on the oil, gas, and coal reserves in currently operating projects in order to understand how the world can meet the climate goals in the Paris Agreement.

We found that:

  • The potential carbon emissions from the oil, gas, and coal in the world’s currently operating fields and mines would take us beyond 2°C of warming
  • The reserves in currently operating oil and gas fields alone, even with no coal, would take the world beyond 1.5°C
  • With the necessary decline in production over the coming decades to meet climate goals, clean energy can be scaled up at a corresponding pace, expanding the total number of energy jobs.

As a result of these findings, our top recommendation is:

No new fossil fuel extraction or transportation infrastructure should be built, and governments should grant no new permits for them.

Yesterday, the Canadian government gave the go-ahead on a massive $36 billion liquefied natural gas  project, the Pacific Northwest LNG project, that could one-day export over 2 billion cubic feet per day of natural gas from the British Columbian coast. This project will be directly linked to fracking fields in Alberta, via a 560-mile pipeline.

The analysis in our Sky’s Limit report utilized “bottom up” data from a Rystad Energy database that provides reserves figures for producing wells and those currently being drilled. It’s a well-by-well analysis that enables a full understanding of the potential production from all operating assets.

The nature of fracked gas wells is that they are very productive for a short period – a year or so – and then quickly decline to a low level of production for the rest of their operating life. It is clear that for this project to be supplied, many new wells will have to be drilled.

Indeed, an analysis from the Pembina Institute found that 258 wells would need to be drilled annually to supply the project. 

The Canadian government has stated it will ratify the Paris Agreement this fall even while it continues to work on a plan to meet the goals.

We have a word of advice. The plan needs to reject all proposed LNG plants, including the Pacific Northwest project, as well as all proposed tar sands pipelines and other fossil fuel infrastructure.

Because as the Sky’s Limit report clearly shows, when you’re in a hole, stop digging.