The United Nations Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) has concluded that the world is heading for global warming and that it is very likely that the emissions of man-made greenhouse gases are a contributing factor.
Quoting the IPCC report of Nov. 17, 2007:
Today, the time for doubt has passed. The IPCC has unequivocally affirmed the warming of our climate system, and linked it directly to human activity.
The governments that support the conclusion have reoriented their attention from the question of whether we are heading to-wards global warming to how we are going to deal with the problem. The consensus is that the emissions of greenhouse gases must be stabilized in the near future and then reduced drastically within a few decades. Several countries have committed them-selves to a 50% reduction of emissions within 2050.
National and international working groups have evaluated different actions and concluded – independently – that energy-saving measures and renewable energy resources will not contribute sufficiently to the reduction of emissions in the short time span we are currently discussing. It is expected that fossil fuels will remain the world’s main source of energy in the foreseeable future and that the fossil energy consumption may increase by as much as 50% in the next 20-30 years (International Energy Agency).
The cleansing of emissions from fossil fuels must therefore be given priority. To achieve the dramatic cuts in emissions that are targeted without carbon capture and storage as a major strategy is probably impossible.
Coal will continue to be the most important source of energy for production of electricity worldwide. At the same time, coal is the greatest polluter. CO2 capture and storage from coal fuelled power plants should therefore be on the top of everybody’s list as a major counter measure to global warming.