Study: 1/3 Fossil Fuels Must Stay Buried to Avoid Runaway Climate Change

Article featured in the Guardian.

Full study featured in Nature.

Vast amounts of oil in the Middle East, coal in the US, Australia and China and many other fossil fuel reserves will have to be left in the ground to prevent dangerous climate change, according to the first analysis to identify which existing reserves cannot be burned.

The new work reveals the profound geopolitical and economic implications of tackling global warming for both countries and major companies that are reliant on fossil fuel wealth. It shows trillions of dollars of known and extractable coal, oil and gas, including most Canadian tar sands, all Arctic oil and gas and much potential shale gas, cannot be exploited if the global temperature rise is to be kept under the 2C safety limit agreed by the world’s nations.

This study not only provides data to back up this analysis, it provides  “tangible figures of the quantities and locations of fossil fuels that should remain unused in trying to keep within the 2C temperature limit.” This includes vast amounts of coal, tarsands, oil and natural gas.

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