Press Release

Energy lease sales under the Trump administration would accelerate climate crisis

Oil and gas wells on public lands

WildEarth Guardians, flickr.

At the current pace of leasing, emissions from public lands and waters are projected to fall well short of the reduction target suggested by leading climate science

The Trump administration is leaving the public in the dark on the significant climate impacts of federal oil and gas lease sales sold over the last two years, and actively trying to keep it that way, according to a new report from The Wilderness Society.

Using the federal government’s own leasing data and production estimates, the report finds that emissions resulting from oil and gas lease sales sold between January 2017 to April 2019 could produce 4.7 billion metric tons (MT) of carbon dioxide equivalent (CO2e), more than the total greenhouse gas emissions (GHG) stemming from all 28 member countries of the European Union for an entire year.

The report goes on to further break down emissions by state and region, with oil and gas sales sold in the Gulf of Mexico resulting in potential emissions of nearly 2 billion MT CO2e, followed by onshore sales in Utah and Wyoming with over 1 billion MT CO2e each.

At the current pace of leasing, emissions from the production and combustion of fossil fuels sourced from public lands and waters are projected to fall well short of the reduction target suggested by leading climate science. And this administration’s leasing decisions are making that problem much worse, according to the report.

“Thanks to this administration’s mismanagement of federal energy resources, our shared public lands and waters are aggravating the global climate crisis when they should be a part of the solution,” said Chase Huntley, energy and climate change program director at The Wilderness Society.

“Our elected leaders and agency officials have a number of tools at their disposal to make an immediate impact on our nation’s climate emissions, including drastically reducing needless methane pollution, eliminating production subsidies and requiring developers to mitigate climate impacts.”

The report comes at a critical time, when the administration is doing everything in its power to actually hide these emissions and their impact – most recently stripping Obama-era guidelines that required federal agencies to both quantify greenhouse emissions and consider overall climate impacts in any decision.


  • Alex Thompson, Senior Communications Manager, The Wilderness Society, 202-429-3940, [email protected]

The Wilderness Society is the leading conservation organization working to protect wilderness and inspire Americans to care for our wild places. Founded in 1935, and now with more than one million members and supporters, The Wilderness Society has led the effort to permanently protect 111 million acres of wilderness and to ensure sound management of our shared national lands. Visit