Protected Carbon are thrilled to share a new critical report co-authored by our team, titled “Losing Ground: Fossil Fuel Extraction Threats to Protected Areas Around the World.” This report, written in collaboration with Earth Insight and the IUCN World Commission on Protected Areas, sheds light on the alarming encroachment of fossil fuel extraction in protected areas and underscores the urgent need to protect them.

Protected areas face an unprecedented threat from fossil fuel extraction.

The report emphasises the ongoing and potential extraction of oil, gas, and coal within these areas compromises their ability to preserve biodiversity and combat climate change. As we have shown, at least 918 of the worlds protected areas have ongoing or planned fossil fuel extraction projects, with a total of 2337 active or proposed projects within their boundaries.

In the latest update of our map, potential CO2 emissions exceed 50.8 Gt globally, more than three times the annual emissions from the US and China combined. The report particularly highlights threats in the pantropics, focusing on protected areas in the Amazon, Congo basin, and Southeast Asia due to their high biodiversity values.

Urgent Recommendations:

  1. Immediate Ban on Fossil Fuel Exploration and Extraction: Advocate for a global ban on fossil fuel exploration and extraction in protected and conserved areas.
  2. New Conservation Financing Schemes: Create and implement innovative financing schemes to incentivize and promote the safeguarding of protected areas for climate mitigation, resilience, and biodiversity protection.
  3. Explicit Commitments: Establish explicit commitments related to fossil fuels and biodiversity under existing mechanisms such as the UNFCCC and the Beyond Oil and Gas Alliance, along with new mechanisms like a Fossil Fuel Non-Proliferation Treaty.

Protected Carbon will continue to take immediate action against the threats posed by fossil fuel extraction to protected areas, to preserve our planet’s biodiversity, people and climate.