↓ Skip to main content

The geographical distribution of fossil fuels unused when limiting global warming to 2 °C

Overview of attention for article published in Nature, January 2015
Altmetric Badge

About this Attention Score

  • In the top 5% of all research outputs scored by Altmetric
  • High Attention Score compared to outputs of the same age (99th percentile)
  • High Attention Score compared to outputs of the same age and source (99th percentile)

Citations

dimensions_citation
672 Dimensions

Readers on

mendeley
1356 Mendeley
citeulike
5 CiteULike
Title
The geographical distribution of fossil fuels unused when limiting global warming to 2 °C
Published in
Nature, January 2015
DOI 10.1038/nature14016
Pubmed ID
Authors

Christophe McGlade, Paul Ekins

Abstract

Policy makers have generally agreed that the average global temperature rise caused by greenhouse gas emissions should not exceed 2 °C above the average global temperature of pre-industrial times. It has been estimated that to have at least a 50 per cent chance of keeping warming below 2 °C throughout the twenty-first century, the cumulative carbon emissions between 2011 and 2050 need to be limited to around 1,100 gigatonnes of carbon dioxide (Gt CO2). However, the greenhouse gas emissions contained in present estimates of global fossil fuel reserves are around three times higher than this, and so the unabated use of all current fossil fuel reserves is incompatible with a warming limit of 2 °C. Here we use a single integrated assessment model that contains estimates of the quantities, locations and nature of the world's oil, gas and coal reserves and resources, and which is shown to be consistent with a wide variety of modelling approaches with different assumptions, to explore the implications of this emissions limit for fossil fuel production in different regions. Our results suggest that, globally, a third of oil reserves, half of gas reserves and over 80 per cent of current coal reserves should remain unused from 2010 to 2050 in order to meet the target of 2 °C. We show that development of resources in the Arctic and any increase in unconventional oil production are incommensurate with efforts to limit average global warming to 2 °C. Our results show that policy makers' instincts to exploit rapidly and completely their territorial fossil fuels are, in aggregate, inconsistent with their commitments to this temperature limit. Implementation of this policy commitment would also render unnecessary continued substantial expenditure on fossil fuel exploration, because any new discoveries could not lead to increased aggregate production.

Twitter Demographics

The data shown below were collected from the profiles of 1,450 tweeters who shared this research output. Click here to find out more about how the information was compiled.

Mendeley readers

The data shown below were compiled from readership statistics for 1,356 Mendeley readers of this research output. Click here to see the associated Mendeley record.

Geographical breakdown

Country Count As %
United States 20 1%
United Kingdom 18 1%
Canada 8 <1%
Germany 8 <1%
Norway 3 <1%
Sweden 3 <1%
Belgium 3 <1%
Denmark 2 <1%
Italy 2 <1%
Other 17 1%
Unknown 1272 94%

Demographic breakdown

Readers by professional status Count As %
Student > Ph. D. Student 339 25%
Student > Master 250 18%
Researcher 238 18%
Student > Bachelor 133 10%
Student > Doctoral Student 58 4%
Other 228 17%
Unknown 110 8%
Readers by discipline Count As %
Environmental Science 220 16%
Engineering 143 11%
Economics, Econometrics and Finance 116 9%
Social Sciences 106 8%
Agricultural and Biological Sciences 104 8%
Other 460 34%
Unknown 207 15%

Attention Score in Context

This research output has an Altmetric Attention Score of 2711. This is our high-level measure of the quality and quantity of online attention that it has received. This Attention Score, as well as the ranking and number of research outputs shown below, was calculated when the research output was last mentioned on 24 July 2020.
All research outputs
#803
of 15,576,177 outputs
Outputs from Nature
#116
of 75,029 outputs
Outputs of similar age
#13
of 304,506 outputs
Outputs of similar age from Nature
#4
of 872 outputs
Altmetric has tracked 15,576,177 research outputs across all sources so far. Compared to these this one has done particularly well and is in the 99th percentile: it's in the top 5% of all research outputs ever tracked by Altmetric.
So far Altmetric has tracked 75,029 research outputs from this source. They typically receive a lot more attention than average, with a mean Attention Score of 84.6. This one has done particularly well, scoring higher than 99% of its peers.
Older research outputs will score higher simply because they've had more time to accumulate mentions. To account for age we can compare this Altmetric Attention Score to the 304,506 tracked outputs that were published within six weeks on either side of this one in any source. This one has done particularly well, scoring higher than 99% of its contemporaries.
We're also able to compare this research output to 872 others from the same source and published within six weeks on either side of this one. This one has done particularly well, scoring higher than 99% of its contemporaries.