Researchers say, if we phase out fossil fuel, we can combat climate change

“The climate system is not stopping you [hitting the target], global society is stopping you.”


It’s the last chance to combat climate change and limit global warming to 1.5 degrees Celsius – immediately phase out fossil fuels, researchers said. A new study published in Nature Communications found that if beginning at the end of 2018 all fossil fuel infrastructure was replaced with renewables there would be a 64 percent chance of limiting global warming.

Phasing out the fossil fuel infrastructure, which would include industrial equipment, cars, planes, ships and power plants, “is in line with the most ambitious goal of the Paris Agreement,” EcoWatch reported.

“It’s good news from a geophysical point of view,” Dr. Chris Smith, lead study author and University of Leeds researcher, said to The Guardian. “But on the other side of the coin, the [immediate fossil fuel phaseout] is really at the limit of what we could we possibly do. We are basically saying we can’t build anything now that emits fossil fuels.”

According to the study, which “used computer models to estimate by how much global temperatures would rise if a fossil fuel infrastructure phaseout began immediately” including an end to beef and dairy consumption, The Guardian reported, there would be a 66 percent chance of keeping the global temperature below 1.5C. The model also determined that if this phase out happened immediately, carbon emissions would decline to zero over the next four decades. If the phaseout was to begin in 2030, there is a 33 percent change of reaching the 1.5C target.

Researchers admit their model is very ambitious, but want to bring awareness that meeting the 1.5C target is achievable – it’s all dependent on the choices that are made here and now.

“The climate system is not stopping you [hitting the target], global society is stopping you,” Smith said.


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Ashley is an editor, social media content manager and writer at NationofChange. Before joining NoC, she was a features reporter at The Daily Breeze – a local newspaper in Southern California – writing a variety of stories on current topics including politics, the economy, human rights, the environment and the arts. Ashley is a transplant from the East Coast calling Los Angeles home.