Saturday, September 24, 2016
Existing Coal, Oil and Gas Fields Will Blow Carbon Budget
The world’s working coal mines and oil and gas fields contain enough carbon to push the world beyond the threshold for catastrophic climate change, according to a report released on Thursday. If all the existing fuel were to be burned, projects currently operating or under construction could be expected to release 942Gt CO2, said the report by US-based thinktank Oil Change International (OCI). This exceeds the carbon limits that would most likely warm the world 1.5C and even over 2C above the pre-industrial average. These were limits agreed at last year’s climate conference in Paris.
It has been established for some time that the enormous unworked reserves claimed by fossil fuel companies contain vastly too much carbon to ever be burned safely. But OCI said that this was the first time an analysis had been done of how much greenhouse gas is stored in projects already working or under construction.
Founder of 350.org and climate campaign Bill McKibben said the report “change[d] our understanding of where we stand. Profoundly”. It means that even if not a single new coal mine, oil or gas field were opened up, the carbon budget would be at risk, said OCI’s executive director Stephen Kretzmann. Projected investment in new extraction sites and infrastructure over the next 20 years adds up to a staggering US$14tn, the report found. “Continued expansion of the fossil fuel industry is now quite clearly and quantifiably climate denial,” said Kretzmann.
Read the full report @ the Guardian