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Why are the billionaires laughing?

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An oil well in the Permian Basin in Midland, Texas on May 3, 2018. (Photo: Benjamin Lowy/Getty Images)

An oil well in the Permian Basin in Midland, Texas on May 3, 2018. (Photo: Benjamin Lowy/Getty Images)

US Set to Blow Other Countries Away With 'Staggering' Scale of New Oil and Gas Production

Over next decade, unlesss its trajectory changes, 61 percent of new global production will come from the United States

Andrea Germanos

A new analysis reveals that the United States is expected to be the main contributor to a "looming carbon time bomb."

Released Tuesday by human and environmental rights group Global Witness, the report (pdf) shows how the U.S. is on track to dwarf other nations' shares of new oil and gas production over the next decade. In fact, says the analysis, 61 percent of all new global production is likely to come from the United States.

"The scale of new production forecast from the U.S. is staggering," said Murray Worthy, senior campaigner at Global Witness, in a statement. "No other country comes even close."

The projected scenario, which relies on data from industry analysts Rystad Energy, reveals the country is on a path to ramp up oil and gas production by 25 percent—even in the face of the climate crisis, which has triggered global protests and demands for bold legislative action.

Over the 2020-2029 period, seven of 10 biggest new oil and gas producers are expected to be U.S. states, with Texas projected to produce more than a quarter of all this new production.

Along with Texas, Pennsylvania, New Mexico, North Dakota, and Oklahoma together would account for 75 percent of all U.S. production over the time frame.

An action plan for a different energy trajectory, says Global Witness, must include two key steps—ending fossil fuel subsidies and curbing political influence of the fossil fuel industry.

Given that nothing less than planetary stability is at stake, the group is part of a chorus of climate campaigners demanding the issue be given the full focus of a Democratic presidential debate.

"The next U.S. president needs to have a credible plan for tackling climate change," Global Witness says in a related briefing paper. "And any credible plan to tackle climate change has to prevent the U.S. from drowning the world in oil."

With that concern in mind, the group lays out specific questions for candidates to answer:

  • What action do you intend to take to curb oil and gas production from public lands and waters?
  • Will you end government subsidies for oil and gas production? How will you ensure the money saved benefits the communities affected?
  • Will you commit to not approving new oil and gas pipelines, export terminals, and other infrastructure?
  • How will you ensure your appointees to key agencies like the Environmental Protection Agency and the Department of the Interior serve the public interest and not the fossil fuel lobby?

"We urge the Democratic National Committee to vote yes to holding a dedicated climate debate," said Worthy. "Presidential candidates should have the opportunity to clearly outline for the American people where their priorities lie and what their plan is to tackle this looming carbon time bomb."


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