When Bill McKibben said, "... the fossil fuel industry is prepared to cook humanity off the planet unless somebody stops it" his claim rested on the estimated reserves held, with the intention of extraction.
Leonardi Maugeri's new study, which validates McKibben's conclusions, rests on actual oil field construction and projects for near term development.
Carbon Tracker measured the total amount of carbon in fossil fuels in existing reserves (2,795 gigatons) and found them to be five times more than can be safely burned (565 gigatons). That is terrifying, although this does not tell us along what timeline those reserves will be pulled out of the ground.
Leonardi Maugeri published a study of actual oil industry development plans.
Maugeri conducted a unique field-by-field analysis of the major oil projects proposed and under construction in most of the world’s oil producing zones.
When factoring in the decline in production from currently producing fields he concluded that by 2020 global oil production capacity could reach 110.6 million b/d...
Therefore, 79% of the oil production capacity being planned today for 2020 is over and above the safe level of global oil demand in that year.
... the amount of new oil production the industry is bringing online over the next eight years is exponentially more than we can afford to burn and stay under two degrees.
In order to keep Earth within a 2°C rise, we have to actually reduce oil consumption from the current level. Even without the additional development plans, current policies are already in line to lock in by 2020 a 6°C rise.
... 6oC... is commonly considered to herald an unlivable planet.
If the planned increases are realized, by 2020 we'll be locked in to an eventual 8°C rise.
Finally, it should be noted that Maugeri’s analysis of the industry’s growth is by no means the most aggressive. Citigroup, for one, has a much more bullish scenario for the North American oil industry that has been widely cited, including by both U.S. Presidential campaigns.
I found the text of this article somewhat dense. Even the chart which "says it all" is not easy to read. Here's a summary of the main points.
The people don't have the will to make the changes that would be needed to get us off of oil. We really need to rethink how we plan our communities--especially how much rely on vehicles.
Having the will to get off oil isn't simple. It will require an enormous amount of rethinking, in every arena of life, starting with vehicles - an entire reinvention of world cultures. A reinvention of our self concepts too. But our only alternative is self destruction. Those of us who are capable of re-imagining civilization as sustainable must step up and speak out, lead the way.
Speaking of the will to get off oil, the Carbon Fee and Dividend approach is gaining support.
I found the Citizens Climate Lobby site helpful, if you're a US citizen. They make it easy to send a letter to your congressman. I was able to send a letter to urge support for the End Polluter Welfare Act in a minute, even with a personalized message.
Citizens Climate Lobby is endorsed by James Hansen
In the long term it's certainly a complicated proposition; however, in the short term there are lots of things that individuals can, but most won't, do. People can start walking, riding bikes and using public transportation much more than they currently do. I know some people who drive three blocks from their homes to stores.
One thing I have definitely noticed, while living in Japan is that even in the most vehicle-heavy prefecture, you can still manage most places without the use of a personal vehicle. I have lived here for three years--almost three and a half, now--and all of that time without my own car. Most times, I just ride my bike around. If I need to go out of town, I use trains. There are a few places where I need a car, so in those case, I carpool with friends.
Part of the problem in the US is that the way we build our cities, we section things off into zones: residential, business, industrial, and so on. Because of that, it makes reliance on bikes very difficult. I have a friend who recently returned to her home state from Japan. She has had a rough time trying to depend solely on her bike. She said it takes over an hour for her to get most places, in order to run errands.
The infrastructure for public transit in most states is lacking, as well. You might be able to use public transit and vanpools if you live near big cities, but you're pretty screwed if not. Telecomuting is a great alternative. It's not something that everyone can do, however.
I think some of the traffic bloat (and wasting of gas) could be relieved if businesses would stagger their workshifts more or offer 12-hour, 4 day shifts for those who wish to work them.
I agree, Jonathan and Nerdlass. The US has the wrong transportation infrastructure. We have no choice but to change at the national and community level, so individuals can make green choices.
Yeah exactly Ruth - "US has the wrong transportation infrastructure"
we would need to redo (and build) much of the entire infrastructure here for the public transportation to even be a possibility.