Unburnable Carbon – Event at UCC on May 6th

Unburnable Carbon

The Environmental Research Institute, University College Cork in association with UCC’s Energy Policy and Modelling Group, will host a lecture by Dr Christoph McGlade on the topic of “Unburnable Carbon: Which fuels must remain unburned to limit global warming” on May 6th in the Western Gateway Building (6-7.30 PM).

A third of oil reserves, half of gas reserves and over 80% of current coal reserves globally should remain in the ground and not be used before 2050 if global warming is to stay below the 2°C target agreed by policy makers, according to recent research by the UCL Institute for Sustainable Resources. The study identified the geographic location of existing reserves that should remain unused and so sets out the regions that stand to lose most from achieving the 2°C goal.  Lead author Dr Christophe McGlade, Research Associate at the UCL Institute for Sustainable Resources will present findings of the study. The study has direct relevance for global fossil fuel markets and important implications for countries like Ireland with a high reliance on imported fossil fuels.  The authors show that the overwhelming majority of the huge coal reserves in China, Russia and the United States should remain unused along with over 260 thousand million barrels oil reserves in the Middle East, equivalent to all of the oil reserves held by Saudi Arabia. The Middle East should also leave over 60% of its gas reserves in the ground. The development of resources in the Arctic and any increase in unconventional oil – oil of a poor quality which is hard to extract – are also found to be inconsistent with efforts to limit climate change.


About the event
An introduction to the event and relevance for Ireland will be given by the chairman for the evening Dr Fergal McNamara who is senior energy advisor at DCENR. Dr Brian Ó Gallachóir of UCC’s Energy Policy and Modelling Group will also give a short talk on research in UCC investigating options for reducing Ireland dependency on imported fossils fuels and reducing carbon emissions. This will start at 18:00 sharp.

About the Speaker
Dr Christophe McGlade is an energy systems modeller with extensive experience in using and developing energy models. He completed his PhD at the UCL Energy Institute which aimed to characterise quantitatively the uncertainties that have most influence on long-term projections of oil and gas production. Following his PhD, Christophe joined the Institute for Sustainable Resources as a Research Associate and he is currently lead researcher for the Resources and Vectors theme of the UK Energy Research Centre (UKERC). Prior to joining UCL, Christophe gained a BA and MSci from Queens’ College at the University of Cambridge in Theoretical and Experimental Physics. After graduating he joined the multi-disciplinary construction consultancy Capita Symonds working as a Forensic Researcher

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