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Most fossil fuels are now ‘unburnable’ - 9th January

Carbon Emissions

In order to prevent a dangerous level of global warming, most of the world’s fossil fuel reserves will need to stay in the ground. Over 80% of coal, 50% of gas and 30% of oil reserves cannot be burnt under the goal to limit global warming to no more than 2c, according to scientists at the University College London.

Lead researcher Dr Christophe McGlade, from the UCL Institute for Sustainable Resources has stated “we’ve now got tangible figures of the quantities and locations of fossil fuels that should remain unused in trying to keep within the 2C temperature limit”.

Previous research have identified that burning of all of the worlds fossil fuel resources would release three times more carbon than that required to keep warming to no more than 2C. New research uses models to estimate how much coal, oil and gas must go unburned up to 2050 and where it can be extracted to stay within the 2C target. The Middle East would need to leave about 40% of its oil and 60% of its gas underground, where as China, Russia and the United States would have to leave the majority of the coal reserves unused and the use of Canada’s tar sands for unconventional oil would be unviable.

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