Fossil fuel reserves contain 3.5 trillion tons of CO2

For the first time, an inventory attempts to assess the pollution still contained in coal, gas and oil stocks.

The world's fossil fuel reserves contain the equivalent of 3.5 trillion tonnes of greenhouse gases, which would be released if used and harm climate goals international, according to an unpublished inventory published on Monday. This phenomenal amount corresponds to what would be released into the atmosphere if the reserves of oil, gas and coal were fully produced and used, according to this global register created by Carbon Tracker and Global Energy Monitor.

This is equivalent to "more than all emissions produced since the industrial revolution" and "more than seven times the carbon budget remaining to respect the temperature limit of 1.5°C“, indicate the authors. This notion of "budget» carbon refers to the amount of CO2 that can be emitted for a given result, in this case the most ambitious goal of the Paris climate agreement. Warming since the industrial era, which has been fueled by fossil fuels, has already reached 1.1°C, leading to a series of disasters.

The International Energy Agency (IEA) had suggested last year to give up any new oil or gas project, to accompany a rapid drop in demand and to keep global warming under control.

A register of 50,000 sites worldwide

The register - which contains data on more than 50,000 sites in 89 countries - aims to provide political leaders and civil society with the data necessary to manage the gradual exit from these fossil fuels. In particular, it shows that the United States and Russia each have enough fossil fuel reserves to blow up the entire global carbon budget, even if all other countries immediately ceased production. It also identifies the most powerful source of emissions in the world: the Ghawar oil field in Saudi Arabia.

"The global registry will help governments, companies and investors make decisions to bring their fossil fuel production in line with the 1.5° temperature limit and, thus, to prevent the disappearance of our islands in practice.“Said Simon Kofe, Minister of Foreign Affairs of Tuvalu, one of the Pacific archipelagos threatened by rising waters and global warming. "We now have a tool that can help effectively end coal, oil and gas production“, he hopes, in a press release accompanying the publication of the document.

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