How Many Will Rosebank Kill?

In September 2023 the UK government granted consent to develop the Rosebank oilfield west of Shetland.

According to the BBC (

"Rosebank ... is estimated to contain up to 300 million barrels of oil"

1 barrel of oil is 159 litres. 300m barrels oil = 47,700,000,000 litres.

Approximate 2.5kgCO₂ is emitted per litre of oil burned. Rosebank will lead to additional emissions of 119,250,000,000 kgCO₂ ie 120 million tCO₂.

Using the non-headline, more conservative figure from the Nature paper The Mortality Cost of Carbon (as explained on How Many Children Can One Oil Depot Kill?), based on 2.4°C warming by 2100, adding 9,318 metric tons of carbon dioxide in 2020 causes one excess death globally in expectation between 2020-2100.

Total production from the Rosebank oilfield will cause an additional 12,800 future deaths by 2100.

That's quite a lot of human suffering.


  • This number counts just deaths expected to be caused by heat-stress. It does not include any of the other consequences of climate change eg crop failure, starvation, floods, droughts, etc.
  • The error bars on the The Mortality Cost of Carbon page are wide. The number above is based on a central estimate.

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