The proposed Willow oil drilling project in Alaska is, what climate activists are calling, a ticking carbon bomb.
The new project is expected to emit some 280 million tons of carbon dioxide equivalent (CO2e) over the course of its lifetime.
A point worth making here is that the International Energy Agency (IEA) said it had no new oil and gas fields approved for development in its roadmap to limiting global temperature rises to 1.5°C.
This means that the development of a new oil drilling project in Alaska with such a potent pollution capacity will set the world behind in mitigating the climate crisis and may have potentially devastating effects on the planet.
In fact, just last week US President Biden referred to the climate crisis as a much more serious threat to humanity than even nuclear weapons.
Yet during that same week, the Department of Interior said it was ready to greenlight the Alaskan Willow project, thus possibly undermining the progress being made by the Biden administration in terms of reducing emissions through the Inflation Reduction Act (IRA).
The issue with the Willow project stems from before the current administration, though.
ConocoPhillips, which is in charge of the project, was granted leases in the National Petroleum Reserve in Alaska over the years and has since presented a “master development plan” for all planned drilling, which the Department of Interior’s Bureau of Land Management (BLM) has been tasked to approve.
After several attempts, the BLM issued a final supplemental environmental impact statement (SEIS), which offers alternatives to the Willow project, with the recommended alternative involving fewer drill sites and somewhat less CO2 emissions.
As of last week, the White House has 30 days to potentially interfere with the new oil drilling project.