COP27 climate summit urged to stop new offshore drilling

Stopping new offshore drilling, along with other ocean-based solutions, can deliver nearly 40% of the global emission reductions needed by 2050, an analysis by Washington-based ocean advocacy group Oceana shows.

The analysis released ahead of the 27th UN Climate Change Conference (COP27) in Egypt, has estimated that halting the expansion of offshore drilling, combined with the phasedown of existing production driven by reduced fossil fuel demand as clean energy comes online, would deliver up to 13% of the annual greenhouse gas emission reductions.

“Stopping the expansion of offshore drilling has the potential to reduce emissions more than any other ocean-based solution,” said Dr. Kathryn Matthews, chief scientist at Oceana. “It’s irrefutable that the climate crisis is here, now, affecting all of us through more frequent and intense hurricanes, floods, wildfires, droughts, and heat waves. This report makes it clear that ocean solutions are climate solutions. If we’re serious about preventing catastrophic climate change, our ocean is a great place to start.”

Currently, nearly 30% of all oil and gas production comes from offshore drilling, which generates greenhouse gas emissions throughout the entire process. Oceana found the halt would result in emissions reductions of 6.3bn metric tons a year by 2050, the equivalent of removing 1.4bn cars from the road. 

Oceana suggested the logical place to start would be with the 10 producers that deliver around 64% of offshore oil and gas: Saudi Arabia, Norway, Qatar, Iran, Brazil, the United States, Mexico, the United Arab Emirates, the United Kingdom, and Angola.

In recent years, many governments have enacted policies preventing the expansion of offshore drilling, including Australia, Belize, Costa Rica, Denmark, France, Ireland, New Zealand, Spain, Sweden, and the US. Oceana has called on governments at COP27 to take action on fossil fuels by stopping new offshore drilling and moving toward clean, renewable energy sources like offshore wind.

“This study shows that stopping new offshore oil drilling will protect people, especially vulnerable coastal and frontline communities who often have contributed the least to greenhouse gas emissions, not only from oil pollution but also from climate change leading to violent storms and sea level rise,” stated James Simon, president at Oceana. “We call on COP27 to recognise how ocean solutions can help us achieve our climate change goals.”

Adis Ajdin

Adis is an experienced news reporter with a background in finance, media and education. He has written across the spectrum of offshore energy and ocean industries for many years and is a member of International Federation of Journalists. Previously he had written for Navingo media group titles including Offshore Energy, Subsea World News and Marine Energy.
Back to top button