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

Overview of attention for article published in Nature, January 2015
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  • In the top 5% of all research outputs scored by Altmetric
  • Among the highest-scoring outputs from this source (#45 of 45,539)
  • 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)

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mendeley
638 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, McGlade C, Ekins P

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.

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Geographical breakdown

Country Count As %
United States 24 4%
United Kingdom 20 3%
Germany 7 1%
Canada 7 1%
Norway 4 <1%
Belgium 3 <1%
Sweden 3 <1%
Switzerland 3 <1%
Italy 2 <1%
Other 17 3%
Unknown 548 86%

Demographic breakdown

Readers by professional status Count As %
Student > Ph. D. Student 189 30%
Researcher 135 21%
Student > Master 108 17%
Student > Bachelor 52 8%
Professor 39 6%
Other 115 18%
Readers by discipline Count As %
Environmental Science 142 22%
Engineering 90 14%
Earth and Planetary Sciences 76 12%
Agricultural and Biological Sciences 74 12%
Economics, Econometrics and Finance 59 9%
Other 197 31%

Attention Score in Context

This research output has an Altmetric Attention Score of 2354. 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 23 March 2017.
All research outputs
#147
of 7,436,042 outputs
Outputs from Nature
#45
of 45,539 outputs
Outputs of similar age
#10
of 233,215 outputs
Outputs of similar age from Nature
#4
of 821 outputs
Altmetric has tracked 7,436,042 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 45,539 research outputs from this source. They typically receive a lot more attention than average, with a mean Attention Score of 69.9. This one has done particularly well, scoring higher than 99% of its peers.
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