FILE - In this Feb. 13, 2017, aerial file photo shows the site where the final phase of the Dakota Access Pipeline will take place with boring equipment routing the pipeline underground and across Lake Oahe to connect with the existing pipeline in Emmons County near Cannon Ball, N.D. American Indians from across the country are bringing their frustrations with the Trump administration and its approval of the Dakota Access oil pipeline to the nation's capital Tuesday, March 7, 2017, kicking off four days of activities that will culminate in a march on the White House. (e) (Tom Stromme/The Bismarck Tribune via AP, File)

There's a lot more oil to keep in the ground all of a sudden

Arctic oil needs to stay underground if we’re going to have any hope of keeping global warming below 2 degrees C

Nathanael Johnson
March 19, 2017 1:29AM (UTC)

This article originally appeared on

Spanish oil company Repsol just announced that it has made the largest onshore oil discovery in the United States in 30 years: a find of 1.2 billion barrels beneath Alaska’s North Slope.

“Keep it in the ground” has become a rallying cry for climate and environmental activists in recent years, and they’re particularly intent on stopping Arctic drilling. A study published in Nature in 2015 argues that all Arctic oil needs to stay underground if we’re going to have any hope of keeping global warming below 2 degrees C, the point at which scientists think the shit will really hit the fan.


If there’s anyone still waiting for peak oil to save us from climate change, get over it. People just keep getting better at finding crude. If anything can get us out of this mess, it won’t be a scarcity of fossil fuels but an abundance of creativity. The same innovative capacity that allows humans to keep expanding the amount of oil that can be pumped out of the earth can also create laws to stop the flow and cleaner technologies to use instead.

We better get moving, though, because otherwise this new batch of oil could start flowing in 2021.

Nathanael Johnson

MORE FROM Nathanael Johnson

Related Topics ------------------------------------------

Alaska Arctic Oil Climate Change Environmental Activism Oil Oil Drilling

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