Published by Oil Change International.
This new analysis, an update to the data in our landmark Sky’s Limit series and peer-reviewed study, finds that the majority of the fossil fuel reserves within active fields and mines must now stay in the ground. Using updated 2023 data, the proportion of coal, oil, and gas reserves that must remain unextracted to meet the 1.5°C limit has increased from nearly 40% in 2018 to almost 60% in 2023.
The analysis further finds:
- As of 2023, developed oil and gas reserves alone, if fully extracted, would cause cumulative carbon emissions nearly 25% greater than the world’s remaining 1.5°C carbon budget. Thus, even in the theoretical scenario where coal mining stops immediately, developed oil and gas reserves alone could push the world beyond 1.5°C.
- A significant portion – almost one-fifth (20%) – of oil and gas fields must be shut down, even if no new fields are developed and coal extraction stops tomorrow.
- Developed fields and mines contain enough fossil fuel to push the world beyond 2°C, a significantly more dangerous threshold that could make parts of our planet newly uninhabitable.
These findings underscore why governments must show up to the upcoming United Nations-hosted climate summits, the Climate Ambition summit in September in New York and COP28 in December in the UAE, with super-charged commitments to:
- Stop licensing and permitting new fossil fuel development, and
- Initiate a fast and fair global phase-out of fossil fuels. To be fair, wealthy fossil fuel-producing countries must move fastest to revoke permits for and retire polluting infrastructure while fully funding a just transition to renewable energy.