Michelle Donelan – 2016 Parliamentary Question to the Department for Energy and Climate Change

The below Parliamentary question was asked by Michelle Donelan on 2016-01-26.

To ask the Secretary of State for Energy and Climate Change, what estimate her Department has made of the proportion of available gas reserves that need to be left in the ground to ensure that global warming is kept to within two degrees.

Andrea Leadsom

The Department has not made its own estimates of the proportion of fossil fuel reserves that are unburnable under a scenario that limits warming to 2°C. However, others have made estimates such as the International Energy Agency who have suggested that around a third of current proven global fossil fuel reserves could be burned under a 2°C scenario before 2050. Different fossil fuels emit varying amounts of CO2 per unit of energy released on combustion, so calculating the proportion of proven global gas reserves within this global fossil fuel mix depends on the quantities of other fossil fuels combusted.

This Government remains committed to the Climate Change Act and to meeting our climate change target of an 80% emissions reduction by 2050 on 1990 levels. This will mean reducing the amount of fossil fuels we use – through improved energy efficiency and increased supplies of low carbon energy – as well as reducing other sources of emissions. As part of our efforts to reduce emissions I have already announced that the Government will consult on proposals to end coal power generation by 2025 and restrict its use from 2023.