In their article in the January 2015 of Nature magazine, “The geographical distribution of fossil fuels unused when limiting global warming to 2°C,” Christophe McGlade and Paul Ekins confirm our global carbon budget. They quantify unburnable fossil fuels both globally and regionally. The writing is on the wall. To prepare for an inevitable low-carbon future, smart companies will integrate zero-carbon goals into their business models.
The authors estimate that there are 11,000 gigatonnes of carbon dioxide (Gt CO2) trapped in known fossil-fuel resources in the world. By 2050, we can only add about another 1,100 Gt CO2 to the atmosphere before we exceed a 2ºC rise in the average global temperature above pre-industrial levels. That is the upper limit beyond which climate scientists and policy makers unanimously agree that there is at least a 50% chance of catastrophic and irreversible global climate destabilization. That means that 90% of the CO2 that is trapped in worldwide fossil resources must stay in the ground as stranded assets. Read more