Climate change is broadly defined as the increase in global temperature and related chemical and physical changes resulting from the release of certain pollutants associated with anthropogenic activities. Chief among the drivers of climate change are increasing atmospheric concentrations of carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gases such as methane, nitrous oxide and several fluorocarbons. These greenhouse gases change the atmosphere's chemical and physical properties altering temperature, humidity, wind, and precipitation patterns globally. These changes in turn affect the biological and human environment. The most recent comprehensive report stating the scientific basis of climate change is the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) Fifth Assessment Report published in 2014.
BOEM considered climate change in the programmatic EISs for the 1992-1997, 1997-2002, 2002-2007, 2007-2012, and 2017-2022 leasing programs.
In November 2016, BOEM released OCS Oil and Natural Gas: Potential Lifecycle Greenhouse Gas Emissions and Social Cost of Carbon. This report is a comprehensive analysis of potential greenhouse gas emissions that may result from offshore oil and gas leasing. This includes emissions released during offshore operations for which BOEM has jurisdiction, along with the onshore processing, distribution, and consumption of oil and gas products.