Much of world’s fossil fuel must stay unburnt to meet climate target: report

Over 80 per cent of coal, 50 per cent of gas and 30 per cent of oil reserves are “unburnable” under the goal to limit global warming

By Rajit Sengupta
Published: Thursday 08 January 2015

Vikas Choudhary

The world has to put heavy restrictions on burning of fossil to restrict global temperature rise to less than two degrees Celsius, says a new research. Scientists at the University College London claim that over 80 per cent of coal, 50 per cent of gas and 30 per cent of oil reserves are “unburnable” if the world wants to meet the targets. The research, published in the journal Nature, also rules out drilling the Arctic.

The new study uses models to estimate how much coal, oil and gas must go unburned up to 2050. “We have now got tangible figures of the quantities and locations of fossil fuels that should remain unused in trying to keep within the two degrees Celsius temperature limit,” lead researcher Dr Christophe McGlade, of the UCL Institute for Sustainable Resources, told BBC. “Policy makers must realise that their instincts to completely use the fossil fuels within their countries are wholly incompatible with their commitments to the 2C goal.”

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