The Death of Paris ‘15

Paris Agreement Climate Change

The Paris climate agreement of 2015 set the standards for how nation/states must approach the net zero target year 2050 by reducing greenhouse gas emissions in stages, starting with major reductions by 2030.

Paris ’15 is dead.

According to a new report by Global Energy Monitor of San Francisco, at least 20B barrels of oil equivalent has been discovered since the International Energy Agency statement of fact in 2021 that no new oil, gas, or coal development should proceed if the world is to reach net zero by 2050.

Nevertheless, as of today, fossil fuel producers worldwide plan on quadrupling output from newly approved projects by 2030, diametrically opposite what was agreed upon at Paris ’15. Effectively, the much-heralded savior Paris Climate Agreement of 2015 is torn to shreds.

Disregard for the agreement is even worse than first blush would indicate, to wit: “Last year, at least 20 oil and gas fields were readied and approved for extraction following discovery, sanctioning the removal of 8bn barrels of oil equivalent. By the end of this decade, the report found, the fossil-fuel industry aims to sanction nearly four times this amount – 31bn barrels of oil equivalent – across 64 additional new oil and gas fields.” (Source: Surge of New US-Led Oil and Gas Activity Threatens to Wreck Paris Climate Goals, The Guardian, March 2024)


Fossil fuel exploration and production is on a roll, on a high, indomitably conquering every warning by climate scientists of past decades. The big oil companies, in concert with the major developed nations, are flipping the bird at Paris ’15. It’s a worthless scrap of paper. They’re drilling and increasing production 4-fold, period!

The United States leads the way. It has produced more crude oil than any country has in history for the past six years running. Nobody is outproducing America. Making matters even more poignantly difficult to swallow and pouring salt into the wound, the leader of Saudi Aramco at a recent conference in Texas said the world should “abandon the fantasy of phasing out oil and gas.”

Meanwhile, it was recently reported that the senior producers are “way off track” on emissions goals that, from the start, were faux commitments with a wink and a grin. According to Carbon Tracker, production plans for the 25 largest oil and gas companies do not come close to aligning with the central goal of Paris ’15, which is now lifeless.

Carbon Tracker’s Paris Alignment Scorecard reads like a lunatic gang of young druggies flunking out of high school. Letter grades run from A to H with each oil company failing. The highest ranking was a lowly D. And every company plans on expansion of oil and gas production, near term. Making matters even worse, according to Carbon Tracker, oil and gas companies are reneging on prior climate commitments. No big surprise there.

All of this is now coming out into the open in the aftermath of COP28 (UN climate change conference) held in Dubai last year, an event designed and led by fossil fuel interests. How could the UN and associated scientists be so fooled, publicly ridiculed, allowing the fossil fuel industry to hijack their most important UN climate change conference?

Now that the oil and gas industry has hijacked UN climate change conferences, it should come as no surprise that COP29 in 2024 will be held in the Azerbaijani capital city Baku. Azerbaijan has been an oil producer for over 100 years as one of the world’s top producers with fossil fuels responsible for over 90% of the country’s exports, providing two-thirds of its state budget.

According to analysts at Rystad Energy, sourced by Global Witness, Azerbaijan plans to increase fossil fuel production by one-third over the next 10 years. (The Guardian) Meanwhile, in somewhat of a mixed message, the country claims to be an alternative energy leader in the world and plans on going to 30% renewables by 2030, which is standard PR by oil companies nowadays.

One wonders what this means for activists and climate scientists and UN climate conferences. Will the fossil fuel industry continue to dominate UN climate conferences? But, even more significantly, what does this mean for planetary global warming?

A recent article in Space.com deals with the issue: How The Runaway Greenhouse Gas Effect Can Destroy a Planet’s Habitability — Including Earth’s, Space, com, December 19, 2023.

Here’s the storyline: “Using advanced computer simulations, scientists have shown how easily a runaway greenhouse effect can rapidly transform a habitable planet into a hellish world inhospitable to life.”

Here’s the hard part: “The team of astronomers from the University of Geneva (UNIGE) and CNRS laboratories of Paris and Bordeaux saw that after initial stages of a planet’s climate transformation, the planet’s atmosphere, structure, and cloud coverage get significantly altered, such that a difficult-to-halt runaway effect starts to commence. Alarmingly, this process could be initiated here on Earth with just a slight change in solar luminosity or by a global average temperature rise of just a few tens of degrees. Even those minor changes could lead to our planet becoming totally inhospitable.”

The brutal result is what’s called “a hellscape.” But no timeline is mentioned. It is just one of those things that might happen sometime in the future, hopefully, nobody lives to see it, or conversely, nobody lives.

One thing is probably clear, by continuing to pump fossil fuels, enriching the atmosphere with one of the most powerful greenhouse gases, CO2 constituting 76% of all greenhouse gases, the odds and timing of the runaway greenhouse gas effect get closer by the day, and now, thanks to a new “let’s drill the hell out of it” attitude, faster than anybody realizes.

Robert Hunziker is a journalist from Los Angeles

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