U.S. Oil Exports Skyrocket Despite Climate Pacts


Publish Date:
December 4, 2016
  • Magill, Bobby
Scientific American
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Seven years ago, the U.S. exported its crude oil to just one country—Canada. This year, 22 countries received American crude oil, marking a more than 1,000 percent increase in U.S. oil exports since 2009, according to U.S. Department of Energy data released this week.

Since Congress lifted restrictions on American oil exports a year ago, more and more U.S. crude oil has been streaming onto the global oil market to supply the world’s growing demand. It’s happening even as the U.S. and Canada have agreed to cut emissions from oil and gas operations and countries agree to cut their greenhouse gas pollution under the Paris Climate Agreement. The international pact aims to prevent global warming from exceeding 2°C (3.6°F).

Michael Wara, an energy and environmental law professor at Stanford University, said Norway is a good example of how this works: Norway has low per capita carbon emissions compared to the U.S. and Canada, but it’s among the world’s top 15 oil producers.

“Where the Norwegian crude is ultimately burned is where the emissions occur,” he said.

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