Royal Dutch Shell, one of the multinationals that defined the oil industry, is slowly turning away from the fossil fuel that made its fortune over the decades but also worsened a global climate crisis. The company said Thursday that its production of oil peaked before the coronavirus pandemic and will fall steadily as it attempts an ambitious pivot toward less polluting forms of energy. It's a milestone for the company and reflects the urgency facing governments and companies to reduce climate-warming emissions. Shell unveiled new plans for reaching its goal of being carbon neutral by 2050 that include a 1% to 2% drop annually in oil output. It will eliminate seven of its 13 refineries and aims to cut production of gasoline and diesel fuel by 55% over the next decade. The plan is part of a wider push, particularly among European oil companies, to overhaul their operations to reduce carbon emissions blamed for global warming while still making money. BP said last year that it wants to eliminate or offset all carbon emissions from its operations and the oil and gas it sells to customers by 2050. - ABC News
Pollution from fossil fuels causes one in five premature deaths globally, suggesting the health impacts of burning coal, oil and natural gas may be far higher than previously thought, Parts of China, India, Europe and the northeastern United States are among the hardest-hit areas, suffering a disproportionately high share of 8.7 million annual deaths attributed to fossil fuels, the study published in the journal Environmental Research found. The new research gives the most detailed assessment of premature deaths due to fossil-fuel air pollution to date. Another study in 2017 had put the annual number of deaths from all outdoor airborne particulate matter — including dust and smoke from agricultural burns and wildfires — at 4.2 million. - Reuters
Canada has underestimated its methane emissions from abandoned wells by 150 percent, and the USA by around 20%. While methane emissions from abandoned wells were reported to the United Nations as part of the U.S. and Canada’s greenhouse gas inventories, experts worry that there could be as many as 500,000 undocumented wells in the USA and 60,000 in Canada contributing to these emissions. In 2018, in the USA alone, 3.2 million abandoned oil and gas wells emitted 281 kilotons of methane, equivalent in terms of climate change to consuming 16 million barrels of crude oil. - OilPrice.com
Royal Dutch Shell Plc will push for the reversal of President Donald Trump’s rollback of methane emissions rules and the introduction of carbon pricing when Joe Biden moves into the White House next year. “Some of the regulatory rollbacks that we’ve seen under the current administration haven’t actually benefited our industry,” Shell U.S. President Gretchen Watkins said Tuesday on a webcast hosted by the Greater Houston Partnership. The easing of direct regulation of methane emissions put the energy industry in a “backwards-facing position,” while the absence of carbon pricing makes it harder to incentivize new technologies like carbon capture, Watkins said. “Whoever is in the White House, we will work constructively with them and are actually very much looking forward to building that relationship with the new administration that’s coming in in January,” she added. - Bloomberg
In a last-minute push to achieve its long-sought goal of allowing oil and gas drilling in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge in Alaska, the Trump administration on Monday announced that it would begin the formal process of selling leases to oil companies. That sets up a potential sale of leases just before Jan. 20, Inauguration Day. The Arctic refuge is one of the last vast expanses of wilderness in the United States, 19 million acres that for the most part are untouched by people, home instead to wandering herds of caribou, polar bears and migrating waterfowl. It has long been prized, and protected, by environmentalists, but President Trump has boasted that opening part of it to oil development was among the most significant of his efforts to expand domestic fossil fuel production. - NYTimes
I started a CGCC Facebook page in May of '20 to share geo-environmental news but had concerns about FB's issues with accuracy. This page, GeoNews, is a response and partial solution, sharing a few items from reliable sources each week.