According to this article How long will world's oil reserves last?:

At the current rate of extraction oil reserves will last 53 years.

And according to this another article, Global temperature - NASA, global temperature increased about a Celsius degree in 80 years.

I suppose we can't directly extrapolate the years because I assume oil's consumption is higher now than before, but is it possible to estimate how much Earth's temperature could increase by the time we run out of oil reserves? Wouldn't it be about a degree or something like happened in the previous 80 years? Is that a problem to really be worried about?

  • $\begingroup$ You're asking three questions, please state clearly, which one you really want to have answered. $\endgroup$
    – Erik
    Commented Feb 4, 2019 at 13:37
  • $\begingroup$ You are overlooking a couple of important points. First, oil is not the only source of CO2: coal and natural gas contribute significant amounts. Second, there are possible feedback effects, such as warming temperatures releasing Arctic methane deposits, and methane clathrates in the oceans. $\endgroup$
    – jamesqf
    Commented Feb 4, 2019 at 17:52
  • 1
    $\begingroup$ Hi. I fixed your title; feel free to revert it if you want to. $\endgroup$
    – Spencer
    Commented Feb 4, 2019 at 23:23
  • $\begingroup$ Oh, and a third factor: the added atmospheric CO2 does not magically go away once all the fossil fuels are burned. It will stay in the atmosphere for thousands of years, if not more, and will keep on heating things up. Currently the ocean absorbs a lot of the increased heat, and since the circulation time to the deep ocean is 100 years or more, heating will keep on for quite a while. $\endgroup$
    – jamesqf
    Commented Feb 5, 2019 at 19:44

1 Answer 1


That estimation is based on current extraction rates and based in 2013, so we would have oil reserves until 2066. Assuming that's correct, it would resemble the "business as usual" future emissions scenario, a.k.a. RCP8.5 (more about RPCs).

According to the last IPCC report, the range of mean global temperature predictions for RCP8.5 looks like this:

enter image description here

We are now 0.5°C above the figure's baseline, and in the next 80 years, which is about year 2100 the temperature would be about 3.5°C above current temperature. But the range spanned by different predictions goes from 3°C to 5.5°C.

Note that the warming effect of putting additional $\text{CO}_2$ in the atmosphere last many centuries, so even if emissions stop suddenly bu year 2066, the planet will keep getting hotter and hotter for a long time.

Also note that the warming is not homogeneous, some areas will warm much more than others, in RCP8.5 scenario many areas would warm by more than 6°C, this animation by NOAA gives you a nice idea of the rate and pattern of warming.

And regarding your question: Is that a problem to really be worried about? the answer is definitely YES! The RCP8.5 scenario is the most pessimistic one, if that one realizes we will be in a lot of trouble, dealing with climate change, weather extremes, sea level rise and massive migrations.

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    $\begingroup$ How about "Thanks to reduced solar activity, we could be heading for a mini ice age in 2030" . Is that taking into account in future temperature predictions? iflscience.com/environment/… $\endgroup$
    – Pablo
    Commented Feb 4, 2019 at 16:26
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    $\begingroup$ No they are not. We can barely can predict the weather on Earth in the next 10 days, so I would not put a lot of confidence in "solar weather" predictions for the next 10-20 years. I would not rely on that to save us. That's just a prediction made by one study, IPCC work combines hundreds of studies to assess how confident we can be on the predictions. $\endgroup$ Commented Feb 4, 2019 at 16:31
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    $\begingroup$ @Pablo Also, note that article links to a follow-up that basically says "oops, we over hyped the implications of their paper". $\endgroup$
    – Deditos
    Commented Feb 4, 2019 at 17:10
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    $\begingroup$ Experts have predicted running out of gas and oil for over 100 years and have not been correct yet . Come back in 50 years and tell me how good the current predictions are . $\endgroup$ Commented Feb 4, 2019 at 20:23
  • $\begingroup$ @blacksmith37 that’s because people don’t understand what “reserves” are. Reserves are NOT have much we have left. It’s how much we found. No point in exploring for more than x amount of years. $\endgroup$
    – Gimelist
    Commented Feb 6, 2019 at 7:01

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