Nearly 60% of the planet’s remaining oil and gas, and 90% of its coal reserves must remain in the ground by 2050 for the world to have a shot at limiting global warming to 2.7°F (1.5°C), new research published in Nature revealed. To meet the goals of the Paris agreement, researchers estimated oil and gas extraction must decline 3% each year until 2050 while every region of the world must reduce and eliminate coal extraction. The researchers acknowledge their findings are “bleak,” with no guarantee that the world will stay under 1.5 degrees of warming.
“We use a carbon budget in our modelling that’s compatible with only a 50% probability of meeting the 1.5C target,” co-author Dan Welsby told Grist. “And if we want a higher chance of staying below 1.5C, then we have to, of course, keep more carbon in the ground, more fossil fuels in the ground, and therefore there has to be higher rates of decline of production from today.” (AP, CNN, Grist, Washington Post $, ABC AU, Axios, Guardian, The Conversation)