A new report from climate research organization Oil Change International has found that almost half of the fossil fuels that could come out of existing coal mines and oil and gas fields need to stay untouched, if we’re going to stop warming at less than 2 degrees Celsius above pre-industrial levels.
Oil Change International researchers added estimates of already developed oil, gas, and coal projects and how much carbon they would emit and calculated that 40% of those fossil fuels need to stay in the ground to avoid blowing past our carbon budget. This work helps expand on the International Energy Agency’s report, which found that no new oil and gas fields or coal mines can be developed if the world plants on staying within 1.5 degrees C warming.
“That’s where we get the conclusion that we’ve already developed too much,” Kelly Trout, co-author of the study and research co-director of Oil Change, told Earther. “If policymakers wanted to aim for a higher certainty of staying below that limit, there would actually need to be more fossil fuels that would need to stay in the ground.””
Yeah, We’re Gonna Need to Leave That Shit in the Ground