Quantcast
Environmental News for a Healthier Planet and Life

Help Support EcoWatch

World's Top Carbon Reserves That Must Be Kept in the Ground to Prevent Climate Chaos

Climate
World's Top Carbon Reserves That Must Be Kept in the Ground to Prevent Climate Chaos

Just days after scientists named 2015 the hottest year on record, top environmental groups Greenpeace, Sierra Club and 350.org have released a new report, Keep It In the Ground, identifying the top climate threats facing the planet. The report examines the fossil fuel reserves around the world that, if developed, would push the globe past 1.5C and then 2C of warming, the threshold beyond which the effects of climate change would make the Earth unlivable.

To avoid the worst impacts of climate change, we need to keep the world's remaining fossil fuels in the ground. That means moving away from coal, oil and natural gas and towards a renewable energy future. Photo credit: Greenpeace

Fresh off a series of victories in 2015, these groups and others are taking on many of the challenges identified in the Keep It In the Ground report as part of a global push to stand up to the fossil fuel industry and accelerate a just transition to 100 percent renewable energy.

“Climate change is already bringing flood waters and wildfires right to our doorsteps," May Boeve, executive director of 350.org, said. “At this point, continuing to burn fossil fuels is truly lethal. The effort by fossil fuel companies to dig up and burn coal, oil and gas despite the consequences is the biggest threat our planet faces. All around the world people are now mobilizing to keep fossil fuels in the ground."

Keep It in The Ground lays out the carbon risk of fossil fuel deposits in Africa, the Arctic, Australia, Brazil, Canada, China, India, Indonesia, Russia, Saudi Arabia and the U.S., measuring each against a global carbon budget meant to prevent catastrophic climate change. The report also assesses the changing public policies surrounding each fuel source, fossil fuel industry efforts to develop them and citizens' ongoing efforts to keep them in the ground.

“With the historic climate accord set in Paris last year, nearly 200 nations from around the world set an expiration date for fossil fuels," Lena Moffitt, director of Sierra Club's Beyond Dirty Fuels campaign, said. “Now we must rise to the occasion by transitioning to 100 percent clean and renewable energy sources and leave dirty fuels where they belong—in the ground."

According to the report, unless Canada's government implements strong environmental protections, the country's tar sands projects could add an expected 420 million metric tons of CO2 to the atmosphere each year by 2020—more than the entire annual emissions of Saudi Arabia. Tar sands are the fastest growing source of emissions in Canada and the Trudeau government has yet to present a plan to reconcile new tar sands mines and pipelines with international commitments on greenhouse gas reductions. Beyond spewing an additional 700 million metric tons of CO2 into the atmosphere, expanded mining activity in Australia's Queensland region would devastate the Great Barrier Reef, which is already under severe stress from rising temperatures.

"The global climate movement is stronger than ever and we've seen important progress in the effort to keep fossil fuels in the ground, from Arctic oil to Powder River Basin coal," Kelly Mitchell, Greenpeace U.S. climate director, said. “We can't undo the damage that fossil fuel companies have caused already, but we can prevent further harm and build a more just world in the process. Our lives depend on it."

YOU MIGHT ALSO LIKE

5 Disturbing Things Porter Ranch Methane Leak and Flint Water Crisis Have in Common

Carbon Capture: 'Only Realistic and Affordable Way to Dramatically Reduce Emissions'

Find Out How Close Your City Is to Going 100% Clean Energy

NASA Scientist Dying of Cancer Attacked by Climate Deniers

Residents get in a car after leaving their homes to move to evacuation centers in central Vietnam's Quang Nam province on Oct. 27, 2020, ahead of Typhoon Molave's expected landfall. MANAN VATSYAYANA / AFP via Getty Images

Typhoon Molave is expected to make landfall in Vietnam on Wednesday with 90 mph winds and heavy rainfall that could lead to flooding and landslides, according to the U.S. Embassy and U.S. Consulate in Ho Chi Minh City. To prepare for the powerful storm that already tore through the Philippines, Vietnam is making plans to evacuate nearly 1.3 million people along the central coast, as Reuters reported.

Read More Show Less

EcoWatch Daily Newsletter

Chipotle's "Real Foodprint" will tell you the ecological footprint of each menu item compared to the industry standard. Joe Raedle / Getty Images

How does your burrito impact the environment? If you ordered it from Chipotle, there is now a way to find out.

Read More Show Less

Trending

Are you noticing your shirts becoming too tight fitting to wear? Have you been regularly visiting a gym, yet it seems like your effort is not enough? It's okay to get disappointed, but not to lose hope.

Read More Show Less
Locals check out the new stretch of artificial beach in Manila Bay, Philippines on Sept, 19, 2020. patrickroque01 / Wikimedia Commons / CC by 4.0

By Sarah Steffen

A stretch of coastline in the Philippine capital, Manila has received backlash from environmentalists. The heavily polluted Manila Bay area, which had been slated for cleanup, has become the site of a controversial 500-meter (1,600-foot) stretch of white sand beach.

Read More Show Less
An illustration highlights the moon's Clavius Crater with an illustration depicting water trapped in the lunar soil there. NASA / Daniel Rutter

A pair of studies released Monday confirmed not only the presence of water and ice on the moon, but that it is more abundant than scientists previously thought. Those twin discoveries boost the prospect of a sustainable lunar base that could harvest the moon's resources to help sustain itself, according to the BBC.

Read More Show Less

Support Ecowatch