Tuesday, 23 January 2018

Why we must keep carbon unburned (online)

We need to stay below 1.5 Degrees: Un-burnable Carbon overtakes Peak Oil

While the peak oil conversation has been very important in the first decade of the 21st Century, climate change has now almost eclipsed this issue. Now that there is increasing scientific certainty that to be safe humanity would be wise to keep global warming below 1.5 degrees Celsius, the issue is less whether and when we will run out of fossil fuels and much more how we will manage to agree on a global carbon budget and declare almost 80% of the remaining fossil fuel reserves as unburnable. While the potential fossil fuel reserves left might be twice as much as the current listed reserves, the carbon budget we have to stick to in order to have 50% chance to stay under 1.5 ÂșC of global average warming is less than a fifth of current fossil fuel reserves.


  1. Surely it's impossible to stay under 1.5C anyway, no matter what we do. We're already at 1C above pre-industrial and the global warming already in the pipeline from the CO2 we've already emitted will push us over 1.5

  2. Hi Chris. Very possibly you're right. But I think its still worth stating just how big the changes are that we need to make. 'Keep all carbon in the ground' is an important message that those facing fracking, open cast coal and shale gas developments need to understand and spread. Its a pretty simple message.