New research is first to identify which reserves must not be burned to keep global temperature rise under 2C, including over 90% of US and Australian coal and almost all Canadian tar sands
Trillions of dollars of known and extractable coal, oil and gas cannot
be exploited if the global temperature rise is to be kept under the 2C
safety limit, says a new report. Photograph: Les Stone/Les Stone/Corbis
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. Currently, the world
is heading for a catastrophic 5C of warming and the deadline to seal a global climate deal comes in December at a crunch UN summit in Paris.