Fossil Fuel Reserves Could Go 5 Times Over Our World’s Remaining Carbon Emission Budget
We already know the concept of global warming as a fundamental environmental issue, and why it is imperative that we prepare our planet to prevent this global disaster from getting worse.
How about trying to investigate the actual numbers involved here? Do we have a way to know how much carbon dioxide must be released into the atmosphere before we reach a critical limit? What would be the amount of carbon emissions that would be produced if we eventually use up all of our planet’s fossil fuel reserves? One study gave us quite a shocking answer to these questions, because according to its calculations, the remaining fossil fuel reserves could go many times past the carbon emission critical limit.
The first part of this frightening conclusion was made by answering the first question earlier, by learning and studying how much fossil fuel we can burn before we finally reach the “point of no return”. As introduced by this extensive and very informative article about global warming figures, the idea of a “carbon budget” has had scientists already preparing for the necessary “calibrations” to measure the amount of temperature increase per amount of carbon dioxide release. As they have observed, the lowest temperature increase needed to create a permanent change in the world’s climate cycles is 2 degrees Celsius, and as of now we are (thankfully) still less than halfway at about 0.8 degrees.
How about the exact amount of carbon dioxide? Well, according the results of their calculations and advanced computer simulations, the amount of carbon dioxide that we could still somehow safely burn is around 565 gigatons. This may still seem quite large, but as the scientists punch the numbers further, that amount would most likely be reached in as early as 16 years. That’s right, if we somehow don’t have a solid plan to significantly reduce carbon emissions in the next few years, we’ll probably be at the “point of no return” in around 2028.
The second part of this countdown report about global warming was the comparison between this “carbon budget” and the potential carbon emissions that would be produced by our world’s remaining fossil fuel reserves. Already anxious to know the number? Well, including all of the reserve oil barrels of our world’s countries and international organizations, plus the oil that is yet to be extracted in major fossil fuel plants, we could produce an amount of carbon emissions equivalent to 2795 gigatons. Equated with our limited budget of 565 gigatons, our remaining fossil fuel reserves have about more than 5 times the amount of carbon emissions to potentially broil our planet in the coming decades.
Now, the amount that would be released per year might offer us a bit of solace in this grim calculation, but that does not change the fact that we are heading straight for a worldwide catastrophe much faster than we actually think. But can we be sure that our civilization could develop a counterstrategy that would limit our carbon emissions safely below those figures? Surely we won’t be able to convince oil companies to just throw away their potential assets. Oil and coal are practically what made our industry and economy-centric world today, and abruptly ending the use of it could have strong repercussions in our modern society and normal life.
What do you think? What could be the best plan, or set of plans that we can do to stop this now that we already know exactly what’s ahead of our continued use of fossil fuel?
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