(ORDO NEWS) — Burning the world’s remaining fossil fuels would release 3.5 trillion tons of greenhouse gases – 7 times the remaining carbon budget needed to limit global warming to 1.5 degrees Celsius.
Human activity since the Industrial Revolution, driven primarily by coal, oil and gas, has driven just under 1.2 degrees Celsius of warming and brought with it severe droughts, floods and storms exacerbated by rising sea levels.
The United Nations estimates that the Earth’s remaining carbon balance – how much more we can pollute the atmosphere before the planet warms to 1.5 degrees Celsius – is about 360 billion tons of CO2 equivalent. At the current level of emissions, this is only 9 years of active industrial activity.
The UN’s annual production gap assessment last year showed that governments are aiming to burn more than twice as much fossil fuel by 2030, just in line with the critical 1.5 degrees Celsius mark. But so far there has been no comprehensive global inventory of countries’ remaining reserves.
The Global Fossil Fuels Inventory seeks to provide more clarity on oil, gas and coal reserves to fill gaps in knowledge about the global supply and help policymakers better manage their phase-out.
It contains over 50,000 deposits in 89 countries. If his numbers are to be believed, some countries have so much carbon-containing fuel that burning it would consume the entire global carbon budget.
For example, US coal reserves contain 520 billion tons of CO2 equivalent. It turned out that China, Russia and Australia also have sufficient reserves to overcome the aforementioned bar.
If you add up all the remaining fossil fuel reserves, then the harmful emissions from burning them will exceed the remaining carbon budget by seven times!
Notably, of the 50,000 production sites on the register, the largest source of emissions is the Ghawar oil field in Saudi Arabia, which annually pollutes the atmosphere with about 525 million tons of carbon.
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