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Offshore drilling ban could prevent over 19 billion tonnes of greenhouse gas emissions

Environment Programme / Partner story

Photo by Grant Durr on Unsplash

An Oceana analysis has found that permanent offshore drilling protections for unleased US federal waters could prevent over 19 billion tonnes of greenhouse gas emissions, and more than USD 720 billion in damages to people, property and the environment. Oceana calls on the US Government to permanently protect US coastlines from offshore drilling to ensure the future of the US coastal economy, which depends on a healthy ocean.

“By permanently protecting our coasts from dirty offshore drilling and advancing clean energy sources like offshore wind, we can simultaneously combat climate change and safeguard our clean coast economy,” says Oceana campaign director Diane Hoskins. Oceana’s analysis finds banning offshore drilling in all US federal waters could: 

  • Prevent more than 19 billion tonnes of greenhouse gas emissions: the equivalent of taking every car in the nation off the road for 15 years.
  • Prevent over USD 720 billion in damages to people, property and the environment: comparable to more than the annual GDP of a major city like Washington D.C.
  • Safeguard the US clean coast economy, which supports around 3.3 million American jobs and USD 250 billion in GDP through activities like tourism, recreation and fishing. 
  • Support a transition away from fossil fuels toward clean, renewable energy sources, like offshore wind. 

Oceana recommends ending new leasing for offshore oil and gas and prioritising responsible development of offshore wind to combat the climate crisis. Oceana also recommends that Congress enact a permanent ban on all new leasing for offshore oil and gas.  

“Oil and gas companies are responsible for the devastating impacts of climate change, like more frequent and powerful storms, droughts, wildfires and famine,” said Jacqueline Savitz, chief policy officer at Oceana. “These companies should not be granted license to continue generating the greenhouse gases that are driving the climate catastrophe. Climate change is wreaking havoc today, now, in America. To avoid even worse damage in the future, we must begin the transition to clean energy immediately.” 

For Oceana’s full analysis, please visit To learn more about Oceana’s campaign to stop the expansion of offshore drilling activities, please click here. This work falls under Oak’s Environment Programme, which focuses on safeguarding our future by restoring our connection to nature and changing the ways we feed and fuel our world.