Can Green Electricity Generation Alone Curb Global Warming?

Carbon emission by cars

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The countries committed to the Paris Agreement have made pledges to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 2030, but can they curb the devastating climate change? The authors of a new report highlight concerns of the continued use of fossil fuels for industrial processes, power vehicles, and heating buildings, as their usage could push CO2 emissions beyond manageable levels.

In this context, climate scientist Dr Elmar Kriegler stated that if the Paris targets were to be met then the future CO2 emissions should be kept within a finite budget. Furthermore, Shinichiro Fujimori, a researcher from the National Institute for Environmental Studies and Kyoto University in Japan said that had they focused on the role of fossil fuel emissions that originated in industries like cement or steel making, fuel or transport sector from cars to freight to aviation, and that these sectors were more difficult to decarbonise than our energy supply as there were no options available as wind and solar electricity generation. Fujimori and his colleagues believe that green transportation would be essential to meet CO2 emissions targets.

The Paris agreement adopted in 2015 had set targets to progressively curtail CO2 emissions to limit global warming to 1.5 degrees Celsius. And, to meet this target, scientists suggest that only around 200 gigatons of CO2 should be released till 2100. And, with the current fossil fuel-use trends, around 4,000 gigatons of CO2 would be emitted by the end of the century.

The authors of the new study highlight that relying on carbon capture and storage technologies is a strategy which could be dangerous. And, they highlight that major industries inclusive of the transportation industry should end their usage of fossil fuels.

Along with that, Dr Joeri Rogelj, from the Grantham Institute – Climate Change and Environment at Imperial College London and co-author of the study, stated that ensuring that global warming was kept within safe bounds would require to stop emitting carbon dioxide into the atmosphere and that this would not happen overnight.

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