More than 80% of current coal reserves worldwide must be left underground until 2050 to prevent rise in global warming, according to a research by the UCL Institute for Sustainable Resources.

Funded by the UK Energy Research Centre, the study suggested that third of oil reserves, half of gas reserves should also be kept in the ground to put global warming below the 2°C target.

It identified the geographic location of reserves that should remain unused.

To estimate the locations and nature of oil, gas and coal reserves and resources, the scientists have developed a new method and used an integrated assessment model, to evaluate which of these should be used up to 2050.

The model is based on an internationally-recognised modelling framework and illustrates the long-term production dynamics and resource potential of fossil fuels.

Majority of coal reserves in China, Russia and the US and more than 260 thousand million barrels oil reserves in the Middle East must remain unused, the scientists said.

UCL Institute for Sustainable Resources research associate and lead author Christophe McGlade said: "Policy makers must realise that their instincts to completely use the fossil fuels within their countries are wholly incompatible with their commitments to the 2°C goal.

"If they go ahead with developing their own resources, they must be asked which reserves elsewhere should remain unburnt in order for the carbon budget not to be exceeded."

Researchers are planning to study the alterations in cumulative fossil fuel production between circumstances that lead to average global temperature rises.