A new study, from economists at University College London shows the impact dealing with climate change could have on Canada and other countries.
Like other researchers, the authors of the study argue that curbing climate change means roughly two-thirds of fossil fuels need to stay in the ground. This finding is similar to the findings of other research on what needs to be done to keep the average global temperature rise from greenhouse gas emissions below two degrees Celsius.
Where the University College London goes first that other studies is that it looks at the impact on different parts of the world. In the study it was assumed that if there was a cap on how much fossil fuel could be burned, the fossil fuel with the lowest production cost would be consumed first. The study also took into account the fact emissions from natural gas are lower than those from oil and considerably lower than those from coal.
Based on this study, 72% of Canada’s oil reserves from conventional sources and 99% from unconventional sources would have to be left in the ground. For the oil sands, 85% of reserves would have to be left in the ground. In the case of natural gas, the percentages would be 73% and 71%.
The consequences of climate change mean that sooner or later action will be taken to reduce emission. What is not clear is whether governments will act quickly enough to keep the economic disruption to a minimum. One of the strongest arguments for a modern industrial strategy is that it enables us to manage the shift to a more sustainable economy.