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VIDEO: Summer heatwave impacts both oceans and oil industry

August 3, 2023

The Week in Sustainability – July 31 – August 4

Image of an ocean oil rig

Impact of climate change and the role of El Niño

The globe is currently experiencing the ramifications of climate change as we endure soaring temperatures and severe weather patterns during the summer of 2023. Torrential rains have triggered floods and landslides in Korea, Japan, and the northeastern United States. Meanwhile, heatwaves have swept through the Mediterranean, Mexico, China, and the Southern United States. July has been logged as the most sweltering month on record, shaped by anthropogenic climate change and the influence of El Niño, which is predicted to carry over into the winter, indicating another scorching summer for the subsequent year. This climate shift has also damaged marine ecosystems, with considerable bleaching events noted in coral reefs due to increased sea surface temperatures.

Impact on the oil and gas industry

Rising global temperatures have unexpectedly led to the shutdown of oil refineries in oil-rich regions like Texas and Louisiana. The infrastructure, built under normal climatic conditions, struggles to withstand the current heat extremes. The irony lies in fossil fuel production equipment's inability to endure the warming temperatures they have helped cause. The aging and deteriorating oil and gas infrastructure has accentuated the need for renewable energy technologies. These newer systems, designed with a warming climate in mind, seem to be a more sensible investment for the future. A broader solution to combat climate change is seen in transformative decarbonization efforts.

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1. CNN, “It’s the summer of changed climate. Get used to it",

2. Spectrum News 1, "Extreme heat is affecting oil refineries in Texas, pushing up gas prices,"

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Hannah Asofsky
Hannah Asofsky is a sustainability data analyst at Sustain.Life.
Sustain.Life Team
Sustain.Life’s teams of sustainability practitioners and experts often collaborate on articles, videos, and other content.
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