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Study: Burning remaining fossil fuels would 'scorch' Earth

File photo.

File photo.

Cheryl Santa Maria
Digital Reporter

Friday, May 27, 2016, 6:17 PM - Burning up all the remaining fossil fuels would 'scorch' the Earth and render parts of it unliveable, according to a report published in the journal Nature Climate Change Monday.

It would also raise average temperatures by 9.5 degrees Celsius. In the Arctic, average daily temperatures could climb as high as 20C.

"Burning all known reserves of oil, gas and coal would inject about five trillion tonnes of heat-trapping carbon into the atmosphere, mainly in the form of carbon dioxide," researchers write in their report. That number is significant, because most of the United Nation's science panel's projections for greenhouse gas emissions don't account for more than two trillion tonnes of carbon, more than enough to cause extreme weather and rising sea levels.

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"It is relevant to know what would happen if we do not take actions to mitigate climate change," Kasia Tokarska, a doctoral student at the University of Victoria in British Columbia, Canada, told AFP.

In the past, research indicated Earth's temperature rise would slow once two trillion tonnes of carbon is reached. Beyond that, it was belived the additional impact of carbon emissions diminishes.

New models, however, suggest old research overestimated the ocean's ability to absorb dangerous emissions.

While the study's authors agree the humanity needs to phase out its use of oil, gas and coal, large amounts of greenhouse gases could still continue to be released into the atmosphere naturally.

What is climate change?

When scientists refer to 'climate change', they're talking about a change in climatic norms.

In other words, warm climates could get even warmer and drier, or they could get colder and wetter.

While this occurs naturally, scientists say humans play a role as well.

Here's an explanation from The Weather Network's Chris St. Clair:

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