Trump’s drilling leases on public lands will release billions of metric tons of carbon emissions into the atmosphere

President Donald Trump’s unholy alliance with the fossil fuel industry and his scheme to give them control of public lands threatens to release billions of metric tons of carbon emissions into the atmosphere at a time when our planet is threatened by climate change.

Global temperatures are on the rise, and are expected to exceed the 2 C degree Celsius mark, which will be disastrous for every nation on Earth regardless of how wealthy or poor a nation is. Even the United States is not immune to the devastating affects of climate change.

Yet, while nations around the globe are working to do their part to transition to clean renewable energy sources, Trump is doubling down on the 19th century energy resources offered by the fossil fuel industry, even going so far as to wantonly approve drilling leases on public lands, lands that are owned by American tax payers and are our environmental heritage.

According to a new report put together by The Wilderness Society, the release of carbon emissions because of these leases will be devastating and will reverse all the progress being made.

“Since January 2017, the Trump administration has overseen efforts to lease more public lands and waters for fossil energy development than any administration in history,” the report says, noting that Trump has leased 378 million acres of public lands so far.

The group says that the resulting carbon emissions from just this acreage will equal all the emissions coming from the European Union alone.

Under varying future market conditions, development of leases issued during the Trump administration has the potential to result in lifecycle emissions – those resulting from the extraction and end-use combustion of fossil fuels – ranging between 854 million and 4.7 billion metric tons (MT) of carbon dioxide equivalent (CO2e). That equates to more than the total GHG emissions stemming from all 28 member countries of the European Union for an entire year. Taking into account the potency of shorter-lived climate pollutants like methane, lifecycle emissions resulting from the development of these leases could be as high as 5.2 billion metric tons.

This will have a damaging and lasting impact on the planet as droughts and major weather events worsen and sea levels rise. Wildlife will also suffer as one million species are currently at risk of extinction because of human activity that contributes to climate change.

“These leasing decisions have significant and long-term ramifications for our climate and our ability to stave off the worst impacts of global warming,” the report states, going on to point out that Trump is even trying to hide the potential environmental impact of his decisions from the people.

“The federal government cannot manage what it does not measure, yet the Trump administration is actively seeking to suppress disclosure of the full sweep of climate emissions from fossil energy leases,” it says.

That’s because if most people knew how much damage the fossil fuel industry would cause with these leases, they would object and take the administration to court to bring his scheme to a halt.

“As the world works to respond to the dire warning issued last fall by the global climate science body about the pace and scale of greenhouse gas emissions declines needed to avoid catastrophic warming, the American public cannot even find reliable information about the greenhouse gas emissions and climate impacts of how their resources are being put to use,” the report concludes.

This is all about profit at a time when we need to be moving away from fossil fuels and rely on clean renewable energy sources available to us such as battery power, solar and wind. Destroying the environment for the sake of extracting finite dirty resources from the ground will only poison the planet, the only planet we have.

This scheme must be stopped at all costs before we end up paying a price that’s too high and cause great suffering to our children and grandchildren in the name of greed.

Featured Image: Wikimedia

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