In his essay "Global Warming's Terrifying New Math," Bill McKibben applies many examples and data points to back his stand that global warming is most important. He brings in a few numbers like 2 degrees celsius, 565 gigatons, and 2,795 gigatons. He defined for many readers the simple and important fact that there is considerably more carbon in existing fossil fuel reserves than we can safely burn.
In recent years, the world has made a global agreement recognizing that the absolute upper limit for 'safe' levels of global warming is 2 Degrees Celsius. He says 2°C of warming, the maximum is "the bottomist of bottom lines." McKibben tells us the problem here well and accurately notes that the all-presence of support for the 2°C target is a sign of our desperation. Scientists predict that humans can discharge about 565 more gigatons of carbon dioxide into the air by midcentury and still have some hope of staying under two degrees. The Carbon Tracker Initiative, a team of London financial analysts and environmentalists, published a report with the numbers that represent the amount of carbon already included in the proven coal, oil and gas reserves of the fossil-fuel companies. Basically, it's the fossil fuel we're presently preparing to burn. The number was 2,795 gigatons, considerably higher than 565 gigatons. McKibben says that "We have five times as much oil and coal and gas on the books as climate scientists think is safe to burn. We'd have to keep 80 percent of those reserves locked away underground to avoid that fate. Before we knew those numbers, our fate had been likely. Now, barring some massive intervention, it seems certain." He also goes on to say that this is the reason the fossil-fuel companies fought so hard not to have carbon dioxide regulated, this is what gives their company value. Mckibben relates that this industry holds the power to change our planet.