‘Dissonance’ seen in approval of Paris Accord and oil work

Aug. 11, 2017
In the world of the Paris Climate Accord, there can be neither compromise nor any new oil or gas.

In the world of the Paris Climate Accord, there can be neither compromise nor any new oil or gas.

The activist group Oil Change International (OCI) makes one defensible point in an otherwise flawed report that shames Norway for encouraging production of oil and gas while supporting Paris goals.

It says Norway’s licensing plans combine with the government’s support for aggressive climate prescriptions to create “cognitive dissonance.”

If the country is to be “somewhat aligned with” the Paris hope for warming confined to 1.5-2° C. above preindustrial observations, “it must not develop new reserves and must manage the decline of existing production,” the report says.

Is that acceptable in Oslo? If not, the government should not have signed the Paris Accord.

The same judgment applies to other signatories and to oil and gas companies who think support for Paris creates a bargaining position against obstructionism.

OCI and groups like it don’t bargain.

“By stopping new fossil fuel developments and beginning a carefully managed decline of the fossil fuel industry towards an economy powered by clean energy,” it says, “we have the brightest future.”

That’s the futile agenda that drove Paris negotiations and increasingly influences official decisions.

OCI’s vision emerges from artful calculation based on speculation, starting with the usual calibration of globally averaged temperature to greenhouse-gas emissions.

“Basic climate science shows us that the total cumulative carbon dioxide emissions over time determines how much global warming will occur,” it asserts.

While CO2 accumulation in the atmosphere causes warming, “how much” remains unknown due to uncertainty about climate sensitivity and feedbacks.

OCI performs similarly dodgy arithmetic when it projects that CO2 emissions associated with future exploration and development will be 150% of those from existing fields and projects “under construction.”

How does it know licensing and exploration will be that successful?

This is the world of the Paris Accord, in which guardians of the climate receive license to adjust science and data to foreordained remedies—unless they produce oil or gas.

(From the subscription area of www.ogj.com, posted Aug. 11, 2017; author’s e-mail: [email protected])

About the Author

Bob Tippee | Editor

Bob Tippee has been chief editor of Oil & Gas Journal since January 1999 and a member of the Journal staff since October 1977. Before joining the magazine, he worked as a reporter at the Tulsa World and served for four years as an officer in the US Air Force. A native of St. Louis, he holds a degree in journalism from the University of Tulsa.