Full Title: A Recommended Methodology for Estimating and Reporting the Potential Greenhouse Gas Emissions from Fossil Fuel Reserves
Author(s): Stephen Russsell
Publisher(s): World Resources Institute
Publication Date: December 1, 2016
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In the Paris Agreement national governments committed to limit temperature rise to well below 2 degrees Celsius (°C) and pursue efforts to limit temperature rise to 1.5°C. To meet even a 2°C target, anthropogenic activities could only emit 986 GtCO2 between 2011 and 2100. This number is our global emissions budget. Earth’s coal, oil, and gas reserves are key to this budget. The potential CO2 emissions from reserves currently held by the largest 200 public companies (by reserve size) is at least 1,541 GtCO2, easily exceeding the budget. The degree to which these reserves are exploited will therefore help shape the severity of climate change.
Despite the importance of the potential CO2 emissions from fossil fuel companies’ reserves, they are not currently disclosed by any company. Financial reporting and industry management standards focus on reserve size and do not include methods for calculating greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions. At the same time, corporate GHG reporting standards focus on historical emissions and thus neglect the most material portion of fossil fuel companies’ climate impact.