Pipeline Bubble, a study released April 24 by the Global Energy Monitor, likens the expansion in fossil infrastructure in the United States and beyond to the “heady optimism and over-expansion” that characterized the coal industry just a few years ago. The study notes:
- Oil and gas pipeline building projects have tripled since 1996, with half of the projects in North America;
- Domestic demand growth cannot support the current North American oil and gas infrastructure boom. The current expansion in oil and gas infrastructure is predicated on a “super cycle” of increased demand from overseas buyers, especially Asia.
- New findings by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change have called for a 65% reduction in oil use and a 43% reduction in gas use by 2050, relative to 2020. Such reductions are incompatible with rapid infrastructure expansion.
- Today’s boom in North American pipelines is based on a belief that the fracking boom has given North American producers a long-term advantage in global markets. But just as the fracking revolution enabled natural gas to push coal out of North American power markets, today plunging solar and wind cost structures threaten to similarly drive the displacement of natural gas.
Global Energy Monitor is a network of researchers developing collaborative informational resources on fossil fuels and energy alternatives. To view the full study, click here.