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Letter

The Middle East is of course the center of several major religions as well as a holder of oil reserves. Hence, it is strategically important, seemingly even in a time of climate emergency.

Iran, Iraq and Syria are in the news frequently. Together these three countries hold about 293 billion barrels of oil reserves. This plays a big part in our ongoing feud with Iran, regardless of any rhetorical excuse voiced.

But we need to ditch fossil fuels. We all know this by now; those who are rational, at least. How much greenhouse gas (GHG) is tied up in these reserves?

From National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration and Environmental Protection Agency information, I calculate about 120 billion metric tonnes. Each barrel of crude contains about 904 pounds of GHG. This total weight of 120 billion metric tonnes is equivalent to about 23,028 Great Pyramids of Giza. It has the capacity of raising the atmospheric carbon dioxide by about 56 parts per million (ppm).

We are now at about 410 ppm. According to some scientists, 380 ppm was already a tipping point, reached in the 1990s, for consequential detrimental climate change. What are we doing?

Erwin Curry,

Missoula

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