Americas, Europe, Planet, Climate Change

Fossil fuel phase out cannot come too soon

Responsible Business | Feb 05, 2019

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A group of scientists from the UK, Norway, Austria, Switzerland and Canada have calculated that countries and companies need to begin phasing out fossil fuels immediately for the world to have a better than 50 per cent chance of meeting the Paris Agreement target of limiting global warming to 1.5C above pre-industrial levels. The researchers found that existing fossil fuel infrastructure does not necessarily commit the world to missing the Paris goals. However, to have a realistic chance of meeting the 1.5C target, the world cannot add any more coal or oil plants, and must retire its existing infrastructure at the end of its lifespan.

That seems like an unlikely prospect. The global use of fossil fuels has only increased in recent years, and although there has been a slight dip in coal use, the overall trajectory is still towards ever-greater burning of hydrocarbons.

Source:Le Quéré et al and Boden, T. A., Marland, G., and Andres, R. J.: Global, Regional, and National Fossil-Fuel CO2 Emissions, Oak Ridge National Laboratory, U.S. Department of Energy, Oak Ridge, Tenn., U.S.A.

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