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TABLE 24.1 Estimated Remaining Recoverable World Resources of Fossil Fuels and Their Potential Effect on Atmospheric CO2

     

Energy Content

Carbon Content

CO2 Concentration Increase (ppmv)

Fuel

Quantity

(1018 Btu)

(Gt)

ƒ=0.4

ƒ=0.55

ƒ=0.7

Oil

1.25 × 1012 barrels

7

130

24

34

43

   

(0.2 × 1012 m3)

         

Natural Gas

8,200 TCF

8

120

23

31

39

   

(232 × 1012 m3)

         

Coal

5,500 Gt

153

3,850

723

994

1,265

 

TOTAL (rounded off)

168

4,100

770

1,060

1,350

NOTE: Abbreviations: ppmv = parts per million by volume, TCF = trillion cubic feet, and ƒ = fraction of CO2 retained in the atmosphere. In addition to these amounts of carbon, comparable or larger amounts may be available in other fossil resources such as heavy oils, oil shale, tar sand, and lower grades of coal. Thus the quantity of carbon ultimately released to the atmosphere as CO2 could conceivably be 1.5 to 2 times the total shown in the table.

SOURCE: Fulkerson et al. (1989).

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FIGURE 24.1 Cumulative emissions of CO2 from fossil fuel burning since 1959 and observed increases in the atmosphere at Mauna Loa.

SOURCES: Data are from Keeling et al. (1989); Marland (1990).



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