A new report, published by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) on 2 November 2014 has said that the unrestricted use of fossil fuels must be phased out by 2100 in order to avoid dangerous climate change.
The IPCC report also stated that most of the world's electricity should be produced from low carbon sources by 2050.
Taking steps to cut our dependence on carbon-based fuels will be costly. However, the report states that inaction is not an option, as the world would then face 'severe, pervasive and irreversible' damage.
We will need to adopt renewable energy (such as solar, wind and tidal energy) much more widely by 2050, with 80% of the world's electricity being produced this way. Currently about 30% of the world's electricty is generated using renewables.
The IPCC has gone on to say that carbon capture (collecting and storing the carbon dioxide produced by burning fossil fuels) would enable the use of fossil fuels to continue for longer. However, carbon capture technology has developed much more slowly than expected and there is only one operational power station in Canada that currently uses the technology.
United Nations Secretary General Ban Ki-moon said "There is no ambiguity in their [the report's authors'] message. Leaders must act. Time is not on our side."
Meanwhile, US Secretary of State John Kerry said "Those who choose to ignore or dispute the science so clearly laid out in this report do so at great risk for all of us and for our kids and grandkids."