Oil and gas: keep it in the ground

Oil and gas pollute our lands, oceans and air, and fuel climate change. To avoid the worst impacts of climate change, we need to keep most of these dirty fuels in the ground. Yet powerful oil and gas companies keep pushing to tap dirtier, riskier and costlier sources: drilling in the Arctic, mining tar sands, and fracking shale oil and gas. Greenpeace is fighting back. We stand up for our coasts, our communities and our climate. We show polluting oil and gas have no future in the clean, safe and secure 100 percent renewable energy system we must have.

Oil — time to leave it behind

The last thing the world needs is more oil. Producing oil harms the environment, wildlife and people. Burning oil for energy, including transport, fuels climate change and chokes our cities with air pollution, making us sick.

The damage gets worse as companies tap oil sources that are dirtier, costlier and riskier to extract and refine, including highly-polluting mining of Canada's tar sands.

Supported by billions of dollars globally in tax breaks and subsidies, this dirty industry pollutes and profits at our expense.

At the same time, some fossil fuel companies spent millions to sow uncertainty and doubt about climate change science.

Drilling means spilling

The industry's global track record shows that where oil is drilled, blowouts and oil spills are a fact of life. Spills sicken and kill and are especially disastrous in water, where it's extremely rare to recover more than 20 percent of the oil spilled.

Arctic at risk

In the harsh but fragile Arctic environment, this spill clean-up rate is even worse, posing intolerable risks to the pristine polar environment and the millions of people who depend on it.

The terrible irony is that the oil industry is trying to drill in the melting Arctic to find more of the fossil fuels that are causing sea ice to vanish in the first place.

Greenpeace strongly opposes drilling for oil in the icy waters of the Arctic. It would unleash still more global warming and pollution. It would also further threaten vulnerable and little-understood ecosystems, the people who rely on them, and the unique polar species they support, such as narwhal and polar bears.

Gas — emissions and leaks fuel global warming

Like oil, burning gas (also called natural gas) produces greenhouse gas emissions, fuelling climate change.  

Unburned gas is also a big problem when it escapes. Methane, the main ingredient of natural gas, is the second most important greenhouse gas after carbon dioxide.  (Methane is 84 times as powerful are carbon dioxide at disrupting the climate over a given 20-year period.)

Leaks and releases occur all through the natural gas supply chain. No one is sure exactly how much leaks, but where carefully measured, actual leaks can turn out to be significantly higher than government estimates.

Fracking and its dangers

Changes to technology have led to a rapid increase in fracking, short for hydraulic fracturing. Fossil fuel companies use fracking to break apart rock formations deep underground and extract oil and gas (also called shale oil or shale gas). Its high risks explain why public outrage has led to more and more bans on fracking.

Toxic water time bombs

When they frack, oil and gas companies lace massive amounts of water with "fracking fluid" chemicals, which are often toxic, and put massive pressures on this fluid when it is deep underground. Fracking can compete for water supplies where water is in short supply,

In the USA, the EPA has found many sites where fracking and shale drilling polluted groundwater. What is more, once fracking is done, huge volumes of contaminated water are left — creating a huge toxic waste challenge.  For disposal, the industry injects this contaminated water underground, a practice linked to an increase in earthquakes.

On top of that, some fracking wells in the USA have led to tremendous spikes in air pollution, and to methane leaks into the air, where it intensifies global warming.

What is Greenpeace doing?

Greenpeace is working planet-wide to speed up the shift away from dirty fossil fuels: oil, gas and coal.

The latest updates

 

IEA’s energy outlook on renewables “absurdly pessimistic” - Greenpeace

Press release | 14 November, 2017 at 1:33

Hong Kong, 14 November 2017 - The International Energy Agency (IEA) today released its annual World Energy Outlook 2017 - a set of scenarios for global energy consumption and production which has a long history of dramatically underestimating...

World’s eyes on Norway as historic climate trial begins

Press release | 13 November, 2017 at 10:00

Oslo, Norway 13 November 2017 – Tomorrow, environmental organisations Greenpeace Nordic and Nature and Youth take on the Norwegian government in court for opening up new areas in the Arctic to oil drilling. They are arguing that drilling for oil...

Big oil is destructive in more ways than one

Blog entry by Bunny McDiarmid | 10 November, 2017

This September I took my first trip to Russia to join the celebration of Greenpeace Russia’s 25 Year Anniversary. In big cities like Moscow, oil powered transport is a major source of pollution and greenhouse gases emissions. This...

Total’s application to drill near the Amazon Reef rejected

Press release | 29 August, 2017 at 19:24

Brasília, August 29th - Brazil's Environmental Agency (Ibama) today rejected the application for a license to drill in the mouth of the Amazon Basin by the French company Total (operating in a joint venture with BP). This is an important step...

The Arctic Sunrise has been seized. Here’s why:

Blog entry by Diego Gonzaga | 18 August, 2017 4 comments

The message is clear: Norway, it’s time to choose people over oil. 35 activists from 25 countries around the world are in the Barents Sea to demand an end to Arctic drilling.   Today, activists from the Arctic Sunrise on...

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