Originally in the Huffington Post
Last summer, 350.org founder Bill McKibben wrote an article for Rolling Stone called “Global Warming’s Terrifying New Math.” The piece, based on research from the Carbon Track Initiative and backed up by the World Bank and International Energy Agency, laid out three numbers at the heart of the climate crisis. First, is the ceiling for temperature rise, the magic number of 2 degrees Celsius, the maximum warming that even Canada’s climate ignorant government has agreed to. The next number is our global carbon budget of 565 gigatonnes (Gt), the maximum amount we can emit to still have a decent chance of hitting that 2 degree threshold. The third, and scariest, number is 2,795 Gt, the proven reserves of the global fossil fuel industry, and all the carbon they are planning to burn.
All this adds up to sobering equation that to avoid catastrophic climate disruption, 80 per cent of the oil, coal and gas on our planet needs to stay underground, math that Canada’s Natural Resource Minister Joe Oliver doesn’t seem to believe. Oliver really should be paying attention though, because if McKibben’s math was terrifying, new research from the Canadian Center for Policy Alternatives paints a grim picture of that it means for Canada.