According to the latest report from the International Energy Agency, if the world is to avoid dangerous global warming more than the agreed to 2 degrees Celsius, we cannot consume more than one-third of proven reserves of fossil fuels before 2050.
That warming level is the threshold scientists say we need to stay below if we want to maintain a stable climate, and unfortunately, we are already almost halfway there. That is where the IEA’s warning comes in. It has calculated that we either keep two-thirds of proven fossil fuel reserves in the ground, or destroy the climate that human existence has thrived in.
When put like that, it sounds like a pretty ignorant strategy to even consider continuing to use more fossil fuels for decades, especially when the technology we currently have could provide an abundance of clean energy. Unfortunately, fossil fuel companies and their investors, and governments, continue investing in the industry, which obviously means there are plans to use far more than one-third of the proven reserves we have available.
The sad part is that a warning like this is not really surprising in the slightest. There is now overwhelming evidence proving our strategies and choices are hurting our environment, but we still push on and blame the economy and jobs for why we refuse to change the game. What do you think it will take for the world to start taking a warning like this seriously?
Image CC licensed by Jeremy Buckingham: Coal pile