Hollande: 80% of fossil fuels must stay in the ground

Success at 2015 Paris climate summit will mean radical shake-up of oil, gas and coal industry says French president

G(Pic: France in India/Flickr)

G(Pic: France in India/Flickr)

By Ed King

Francois Hollande says 80% of known fossil fuels will need to stay in the ground for the world to achieve a “viable” global climate deal later this year in Paris.

The French president made his views known at the “Summit of Conscience for the Climate” held in Paris earlier this week.

“Today, with the agreement we see taking shape, we are still above two degrees Celsius, and probably three,” he said in quotes reported by AFP.

A deal to keep warming below the UN-approved ceiling of 2C above pre-industrial levels would mean “forsaking the use of 80% of fossil-based energy resources to which we still have easy access”.

Report: France moves away from nuclear with clean energy law 

The comments are some of the most radical yet from Hollande, who is injecting considerable personal input into diplomatic efforts to ensure the success of an agreement.

Many oil, gas and coal businesses including Total – one of France’s largest companies – are still investing heavily in the hunt for more fossil fuels.

According to the team at Carbon Tracker, coal, oil and gas reserves listed on the world’s stock exchanges total 762 gigatonnes of CO2 – a quarter of total reserves.

This October some oil and gas companies are expected to reveal more information about their carbon–cutting plans after entering a dialogue with the UN’s climate body.

Nearly 200 countries will converge on the French capital to finalise the proposed pact in December.

Failure to slash greenhouse gas emissions will lead to an increase in extreme weather events such as droughts and floods, say scientists, along with accelerated sea level rise.

Read more on: Climate politics | UN climate talks |