All climate change charts and graphics on this website that say they are created by Barry Saxifrage are licensed for free re-use and modification under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License.

Our Climate Change Articles
Go to Site Index See "Our Climate Change Articles" main page
General · 5th January 2014
Barry Saxifrage
ExxonMobil's influential global energy report, "The Outlook for Energy: A View to 2040", says that new technologies like fracking and tar sands are unlocking a gusher of oil and natural gas.

Our ability to extract new sources of fossilized carbon is growing even faster than we can burn them up. ExxonMobil reports that the amazing surge in "unconventional" sources of oil and natural gas is so great that humanity can continue to burn ever increasing amounts of fossil carbon for well over a century.

And that is exactly what they expect the world will do.

The oil and gas giant expects humanity will meet two-thirds of our increased energy demand by choosing to burn even more oil and gas than we do now.

In contrast, they expect people to choose new renewable energy sources for less than a quarter of our new energy supply.

The result will be that renewable energy sources will continue to lose ground to fossil fuels through 2040 and beyond. The energy production gap between fossil fuels and renewable energy will grow 35% larger than it is today.

ExxonMobil's report paints a big, bright, beautiful picture of the future made possible by burning ever increasing amounts of fossil carbon. The pages of their report brim with happy people gazing at shimmering cell phones and jelly bean pretty charts.
Off the climate cliff

Unfortunately for most of humanity, all that extra fossil fuel burning also comes with one very big downside. If we do burn that much more fossil carbon the resulting climate pollution will crank the global thermostat up by 4OC. And that, scientists and global leaders say, will inflict climate misery on humanity for thousands of years.

ExxonMobil includes a colourful chart showing the surge in climate pollution that will result from burning all that extra oil and gas. They even provide the numerical data in a table at the end of the report.

What they don't talk about, however, is what all the climate pollution means for your future. They never mention how hot the planet will get or what changes that is expected to bring.
The missing chart

To find out what their expected levels of climate pollution will mean for us I turned to the International Energy Agency (IEA). The IEA publishes three climate pollution scenarios that will lead to global warming of +2OC, +4OC and +6OC respectively.

My chart below shows ExxonMobil's emissions projections in the context of the IEA's three global warming scenarios....

Both Exxon and BP think humans will burn enough fossil fuels to push climate to 4C warmer!
Both Exxon and BP think humans will burn enough fossil fuels to push climate to 4C warmer!
Most new energy will come from increased oil and gas: Exxon
Most new energy will come from increased oil and gas: Exxon