American architect William McDonough once said, “The Stone Age did not end because humans ran out of stones.”

Cleveland: “And that same kind of analogy applies here. We’re not going to end the fossil fuel age because we run out of fossil fuels. But we are going to have to leave the fossil fuel age behind if we’re going to maintain a livable planet.”

That’s Shanna Cleveland of the Carbon Asset Risk Initiative at Ceres, a nonprofit group working to build a sustainable global economy. Scientists have estimated that less than one-third of the fossil fuels on the books of oil, gas and coal companies can be burned if we are to maintain a safe climate.

If and when global carbon policies change, these reserves could become “stranded” – not financially viable for the companies to extract. That scenario has the potential for enormous economic consequences.

Cleveland: “The focus of the Carbon Asset Risk campaign is to get the oil and gas and coal companies to start acknowledging and recognizing that high risk, high cost, and high carbon projects are not good bets.”

Cleveland says fossil fuels will not make economic or environmental sense in a low carbon future.


Reporting credit: ChavoBart Digital Media.
Photo source: Ceres

More Resources
Ceres Fact Sheet
Carbon Tracker
Exxon Mobil statement
Exxon Mobil’s commitment to carbon asset risk is just the beginning
Shell urges shareholders to accept climate resolution

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