Fossil fuel developments on U.S. public lands emit more greenhouse gases than most countries.
What? Yes. According to a report released by The Wilderness Society on Thursday, “If U.S. public lands were their own country, they would rank fifth in the world for greenhouse gas emissions.”
There’s been a big hullaballoo over Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke’s plans to turn our public lands over to industry interests. But a lot of that land is already leased out to oil and gas companies, in transactions that have been largely shielded from public view.
Here’s a breakdown of some of the report’s more alarming findings:
- Oil, gas, and coal projects on public lands are responsible for at least 20 percent of our country’s total emissions.
- There is currently no “systematic effort to track nor disclose the carbon consequences of energy leasing on public lands.” That means the American public has had little opportunity to weigh in on how its energy resources are managed.
- The Bureau of Land Management under President Trump has instructed land management agencies to forgo climate impact assessments in the interest of spurring new energy developments.
That’s all bad news for the climate. In fact, there isn’t really any good news here, but The Wilderness Society did provide this nifty Accountability Tool you can use to explore public lands emissions.