Almost every government in the world has agreed that any warming above 2°C will cause catastrophic, runaway climate change. Scientists tell us that humans can emit roughly another 565 gigatons of carbon dioxide into the atmosphere and still have some reasonable hope of staying below 2°C of global warming.
But proven coal, oil, and gas reserves of the world, and the products fossil-fuel companies that seek them, is a staggerning 2,795 gigatons of CO2. And there are more undiscovered fossil fuels everywhere.
This 2,795 gigatonnes of available fuel is five times the amount we can release to stay below completely catastrophic levels of global warming.
80% of fossil fuel reserves need to stay in the ground.
We will face a new and unimaginable economic crisis caused by a world where we suddenly have to stop burning fossil fuels to combat the devestating effects of climate change on weather, people's lives, water resources and crop production. Our own Government predicts in the 2007 Stern Review that climate change could cost between 5-10% of GDP to deal with, but it also states:
Current slashed solar subsidies and the wiping out of wind farm support are way off the mark under the recent Annual Budget.
The economy needs to be perparing, and it is the job of governments to enforce the proper mechanisms that should be being catalyzed across the global economy, and it is the job of business to accept responsiblity and develop innovative low carbon alternatives. It is the job of us, the world's people to live within the Earth's means and demand the resources to prevail over climate change.
Despite this potential and ever looming crisis, in 2012 $674 billion was spent on the discovery or development of new fossil fuel reserves to add to the already dangerously high amount we have currently This figure amounts to more than $18 billion dollars a day of wasted capital.
The ‘Carbon Bubble’ is increasingly being deemed a huge threat to the financial system endangering investors, pension funds and government stability across the world, and the fear is causing mass withdrawal of investments in what is believed to be the fastest divestment movement since anti-apartheid in the 1960’s.
The carbon budget is the amount of carbon produced by burning fossil fuels, that we can allow into the atmosphere before it gets nasty. The problem is the vast missing cost charged to companies who conduct fossil fuel combustion for energy. They make gargantuan sums of money, and constitute alf of the top ten biggest Fortune 500 comapnies - each making around $400 billion a year.
These companies are the biggest global corporations in the world, but are avoiding the true costs of the intensely damanging carbon emission waste products of their industry, that are intensifying climate change and causing the world's citizens their health, biodiversity, environmental resillience,and safety for the coming decades and all future generations - until something is done.
The idea behind the metaphor of a 'Carbon Bubble' is that eventually, as fossil fuel stores run out, or environmental impacts become so disasterous they are impossible to ignore..... the bubble will burst. Catastropically: