Global registry of fossil fuels

Producing and combusting the world’s fossil fuel reserves would yield over 3.5 trillion tonnes of greenhouse gas emissions, over seven times the remaining carbon budget for 1.5C and more than all emissions produced since the industrial revolution.

The findings come from the Global Registry of Fossil Fuels, a Carbon Tracker and Global Energy Monitor project.

To date, climate change policy efforts have focussed on reducing demand and consumption of oil, gas and coal, but ignored the supply of those fuels. The Global Registry of Fossil Fuels was created to fill this data gap. It is the first public database of fossil fuel production and reserves worldwide that tracks their impact on the carbon budget. The Registry is entirely policy neutral and fully transparent in its assumptions and calculations, and it is hoped that in due course it will be situated formally within the international climate policymaking process.

Among other things it shows that the US and Russia each hold enough fossil fuel reserves to blow the entire global carbon budget, even if all other countries ceased production immediately. Of the 50,000 fields covered by the registry, the most potent source of emissions is the Ghawar oil field in Saudi Arabia, which produces approximately 525 million tonnes of carbon emissions each year.

Mark Campanale, founder of Carbon Tracker and chair of the Registry Steering Committee, said: “The Global Registry will make governments and companies more accountable for their development of fossil fuels by enabling civil society to link production decisions with national climate policies. Equally, it will enable banks and investors to more accurately assess the risk of particular assets becoming stranded.”

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