You are here

Blog Posts: oil and gas

  • Ecuador Shows Why Communities and the Climate Need Strong Forest Rights

    Recent research from WRI and the Rights and Resources Initiative found that the world’s 513 million hectares of legally recognized community forests store 37 billion tonnes of carbon—29 times the annual carbon footprint of the world’s passenger vehicles.

    However, it’s not enough to just legally recognize Indigenous Peoples’ forest rights—governments must also protect these rights from industries and other interests. The impacts of oil extraction in Ecuador illustrate why secure community forest rights are necessary to protect both livelihoods and the environment.

    Share

  • The Plain Bad Economics of Today’s Energy Prices

    Christine Lagarde, Managing Director of the IMF, recently launched the latest book in a series on what good fiscal policy should look like in a world of environmental externalities.

    The message was clear: Ministers of finance and economics should design their tax systems skillfully so as to tax bad things, like pollution and congestion, rather than good things like work and profit. Not to do so is plain, bad economics.

    Share

  • The Price Is Wrong: New Report Calls for Fossil Fuel Prices that Reflect Environmental Costs

    A new report from the International Monetary Fund (IMF), Getting Energy Prices Right: From Principle to Practice, argues that the costs of coal, natural gas, gasoline, and diesel fail to account for these fuels’ environmental and social impacts—such as greenhouse gas emissions, air pollution, and traffic deaths.

    Setting prices that reflect these side effects—through taxes, licensing, or cap-and-trade systems—could reduce deaths from fossil fuel-related air pollution by 63 percent, decrease global carbon dioxide emissions by 23 percent, and generate revenues totaling about 2.6 percent of global GDP.

    Share

  • 7 Charts Explain Changing U.S. Power Sector Emissions

    Where do U.S. power sector emissions come from? And how have they changed over time?

    Today, WRI released an update of its U.S. state GHG emissions data via CAIT 2.0, our climate data explorer. These and other data provide valuable context in light of the EPA's newly proposed emissions standards for U.S. power plants.

    Share

  • Tar Sands Threaten World’s Largest Boreal Forest

    According to data from Global Forest Watch, an online mapping platform that tracks tree cover loss and gain in near-real time, industrial development and forest fires in Canada’s tar sands region has cleared or degraded 775,500 hectares (almost two million acres) of boreal forest since the year 2000. That’s an area more than six times the size of New York City. If the tar sands extraction boom continues, as many predict, we can expect forest loss to increase.

    Share

  • What Will it Take to End the “Resource Curses?”

    The “resource curse" describes the paradox where countries rich in oil, gas, and minerals remain largely impoverished. Better transparency—both in how governments spend extractive revenues and how natural resource decisions are made—could help tackle this problem. While some new initiatives are making progress on this front, more needs to be done to ensure that drilling and mining doesn’t come at the expense of communities and the land, water, and wildlife they rely on.

    Share

  • Water Risks on the Rise for Three Global Energy Production Hot Spots

    Energy and consulting firm Wood Mackenzie, supported by data and analysis from WRI’s Aqueduct Water Risk Atlas, surveyed water risks among the world’s top energy-producing regions. They found that three energy sectors face particularly high water risks: shale gas in the United States, coal production and coal-fired power in China, and crude oil in the Middle East.

    Share

  • IMF Experts and Others Envision a World without Energy Subsidies

    The world continues to see the “costs” of fossil fuel use in the form of climate change impacts like heat waves, floods, and extreme weather. While these costs are often overlooked in traditional economic modeling, a new book from the International Monetary Fund (IMF) quantifies them.

    Share

  • World’s Carbon Budget to Be Spent in Three Decades

    EDITOR'S NOTE 11/18/13: After this blog post was published, the IPCC updated its Summary for Policymakers. The figures in this blog post have been updated to reflect new information.

    The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change’s (IPCC) Fifth Assessment Report (AR5) has delivered an overwhelming consensus that climate change impacts are accelerating, fueled by human-caused emissions. We may have just about 30 years left until the world’s carbon budget is spent if we want a likely chance of limiting warming to 2 degrees C. Breaching this limit would put the world at increased risk of forest fires, coral bleaching, higher sea level rise, and other dangerous impacts.

    When Will Our Carbon Budget Run Out?

    The international community has adopted a goal for global warming not to rise above 2°C compared to pre-industrial temperatures. Scientists have devoted considerable effort to understanding what magnitude of emissions reductions are necessary to limit warming to this level, as the world faces increasingly dangerous climate change impacts with every degree of warming (see Box 1).

    IPCC AR5 summarizes the scientific literature and estimates that cumulative carbon dioxide emissions related to human activities need to be limited to 1 trillion tonnes C (1000 PgC) since the beginning of the industrial revolution if we are to have a likely chance of limiting warming to 2°C. This is “our carbon budget” – the same concept as a checking account. When we’ve spent it all, there’s no more money (and the planet’s overdraft fees will be much more significant than a bank’s small charges for bounced checks).[^1]

    Share

  • Improving Freedom of Information in Uganda

    Harriet Bibangambah, a Research Officer at Greenwatch Uganda, also contributed to this post.

    Uganda is one of only 10 African countries with a national access to information (ATI) law. These types of laws are essential to human rights, providing citizens with legal access to the government-held information that directly impacts them—information on issues like mining permits, logging concessions, air quality data, and more. But as researchers are learning, ATI laws on the books do not necessarily guarantee freedom of information.

    Investigating Access to Information in Uganda

    The Access to Information in Africa project—a joint initiative with WRI and the Ghana Center for Democratic Development, Greenwatch Uganda, and Open Democracy Advice Centre of South Africa—evaluates transparency models and environmental accountability in Africa. The project’s research includes conducting a series of citizen requests for information in Ghana, Uganda, and South Africa.

    Uganda passed its Access to Information Act in 2005, releasing an implementation plan and ATI regulations in 2011. The regulations establish procedures for citizens to request government-held information and for the government to respond to citizen requests. WRI and Greenwatch, a Ugandan environmental law and advocacy organization set out in August 2011 to investigate how the law works.

    Share

Stay Connected

Sign up for our newsletters

Get the latest commentary, upcoming events, publications, maps and data. Sign up for the biweekly WRI Digest.