US, Canada, and Norway Are “Pumping More Oil Than Ever”

Last year, the three countries positioned themselves as climate leaders.

Last year the world’s leading climate scientists, the IPCC, issued a “code red” for humanity and outlined how we had to stop oil and gas drilling if we wanted a livable future.

Also last year, the world’s energy watchdog, the International Energy Agency (IEA) finally acknowledged that to limit warming to 1.5 degrees Celsius (ºC), we must cease all new investment in the expansion of oil, gas, and coal supply beyond that already committed now.

Last year, the IPCC, issued a “code red” for humanity and outlined how we have to stop drilling for oil and gas if we want a livable future. Photo by Takver.

But still we drill. Take three countries who like to see themselves as climate leaders. First the United States. At the UN climate conference at COP26 in Glasgow, US President Joe Biden beat the drum for urgent action. “The science is clear: We only have a brief window left before us to raise our ambitions and to raise — to meet the task that’s rapidly narrowing,” said the President.

He added: “This is a decisive decade in which we have an opportunity to prove ourselves. We can keep the goal of limiting global warming to just 1.5 degrees Celsius within our reach if we come together, if we commit to doing our part of each of our nations with determination and with ambition.”

Second, is Canada. Biden’s North American counterpart, Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, added that “the science is clear: we must do more, and faster. So that’s the pledge and the call I bring to this historic meeting.”

Third, is Norway. The Norwegian Prime Minister Jonas Gahr Støre reiterated the need for drastic action at COP26, telling delegates, “this is existential. It is urgent. And it is possible — if we jointly step up our commitments.

That was last year. This is a new year, and instead of new commitments to double down on climate action, what do we see?

The website Counterpunch reports that “in case you were thinking that the federal government under President Joe Biden was addressing the climate crisis by reducing oil drilling and dependence on fossil fuels in the US at this time, I have some alarming news for you.”

According to Counterpunch, “The US Energy Information Administration (EIA) forecasts that US oil production will average 12.4 million barrels per day during 2023, surpassing the record high for domestic crude oil production set in 2019 under Trump.” The US has more oil and gas extraction expansion planned in the next decade than any other country.

Moving further north, Justin Trudeau is also a climate hypocrite. A recent article in the Wall Street Journal covered Canada’s heavily polluting tar sands in Alberta. The article was entitled “one of the world’s dirtiest oil patches is pumping more than ever.”

The paper added that although some multinational producers and investors may have exited the tar sands due to climate concerns and activist investor pressure, local companies had stepped in to take up the slack. “We will continue to see growth,” said the paper.

And as OCI’s Bronwen Tucker recently pointed out in relation to the ongoing struggle to stop the Coastal GasLink pipeline, Canada’s fracked gas expansion plans in northern Alberta and northern British Columbia are massive (second only to the US) but largely flying under the radar:

Trudeau’s government is also under pressure to stop subsidies and public finance for fossil fuels, which it gives to the tune of about CAD $18 billion a year.

Meanwhile, Norway, another country that is positioning itself as a climate leader, has just announced 53 new oil and gas licenses “supporting the country’s continued role as Western Europe’s largest hydrocarbon producer,” according to one oil industry publication, which adds “the offers provide reassurance on Norway’s commitment to maximizing petroleum extraction.”

The licenses are not only in the North Sea, but also further north in the Norwegian and Barents Seas, which are ecologically sensitive too.

Speaking earlier this week, the country’s Petroleum and Energy Minister, Marte Mjos Persen said, “The petroleum industry contributes with large revenues, value creation, and jobs across the country… Further exploration activity and new discoveries are crucial to develop the Norwegian petroleum industry further.”

In response, Greenpeace Norway tweeted:

You Make Our Work Possible

You Make Our Work Possible

We are standing at a pivotal moment in history, one in which education and advocacy around the climate emergency, public health, racial injustice, and economic inequity is imperative. At Earth Island Journal, we have doubled down on our commitment to uplifting stories that often go unheard, to centering the voices of frontline communities, and to always speak truth to power. We are nonprofit publication. We don’t have a paywall because our mission is to inform, educate and inspire action. Which is why we rely on readers like you for support. If you believe in the work we do, please consider making a tax-deductible year-end donation to our Green Journalism Fund.

Get the Journal in your inbox.
Sign up for our monthly newsletter.

The Latest

Buffalo Suspect May Be Latest Mass Shooter Motivated by ‘Eco-Fascism’

Suspect allegedly calls himself an ‘eco-fascist’ and blames migration for harm to the environment in document posted online.

Oliver Milman The Guardian

The Parliament of Spiders and Worms

On an otherwise unremarkable lot in Berlin, a radical experiment bestows all organisms with equal rights.

Inga Dreyer and David Schmidt

On Demand and Services, with Economist Joyashree Roy

IPCC Mitigation Report 2022 — Part 5

Amy Westervelt

Behind the Scenes of the IPCC: A Deep Dive into the Earth Negotiations Bulletin

IPCC Mitigation Report — Part Four

Amy Westervelt

Fish Can Talk But It’s Getting Harder for Them to Hear

New research points to the importance of sound for thousands of fish species, raises concerns about impact of noise pollution.

Claire Hamlett

Scientists in Antarctica Discover a Vast, Salty Groundwater System Under the Ice Sheet

Finding could change our understanding of how the ice flows, with important implications for estimating future sea level rise.

Matthew Siegfried and Chloe Gustafson