Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Energy technologies not enough to sufficiently reduce carbon emissions, expert concludes

Date:
September 9, 2010
Source:
New York University
Summary:
Current energy technologies are not enough to reduce carbon emissions to a level needed to lower the risks associated with climate change, a physicist concludes in a new evaluation.

Current energy technologies are not enough to reduce carbon emissions to a level needed to lower the risks associated with climate change, New York University physicist Martin Hoffert concludes in an essay in the latest issue of the journal Science.

Many scientists have determined that in order to avoid the risks brought about by climate change, steps must be taken to prevent the mean global temperature from rising by more than 2C above pre-industrial levels. Current climate models indicate that achieving this goal will require limiting atmospheric carbon dioxide (CO2) concentrations to less than 450 parts per million (ppm), a level that implies substantial reductions in emissions from burning fossil fuels.

The present atmospheric level of CO2 is approximately 385 ppm, some 100 ppm above the pre-industrial level of about 280 ppm. It is expected to rise in future years.

"So far, efforts to curb emissions through regulation and international agreement haven't worked," Hoffert writes. "Emissions are rising faster than ever, and programs to scale up 'carbon neutral' energy sources are moving slowly at best."

Hoffert points to a pair of factors that show why current energy technologies are not sufficient to reduce carbon emissions to a level advocated by scientists.

One, alternative energy sources, such as solar and wind electricity, are not adequate to achieve "massive market penetration," which requires utility-scale systems that can store intermittent supplies of power until they are needed.

While Denmark and Norway have developed methods for this type of storage, these aren't "widely feasible in the United States, and other approaches to store power are expensive and need substantial research and testing," Hoffert contends.

Two, reliance on carbon-emitting fuels is once again growing.

"As natural gas and oil approach peak production, coal production rises, and new coal-fired power plants are being built in China, India, and the United States," writes Hoffert, a professor emeritus in NYU's Department of Physics.

Hoffert offers an array of approaches that would bring about new technologies while at the same time reducing the world's reliance on fossil fuels.

"Broad investment will be crucial to enabling basic research findings to develop into applied commercial technologies," he writes. "Carbon taxes and ramped-up government research budgets could help spur investments. But developing carbon-neutral technologies also requires, at the very least, reversing perverse incentives, such as existing global subsidies to fossil fuels that are estimated to be 12 times higher than those to renewable energy."


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by New York University. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Journal Reference:

  1. Martin I. Hoffert. Farewell to Fossil Fuels? Science, 2010; 329 (5997): 1292-1294 DOI: 10.1126/science.1195449

Cite This Page:

New York University. "Energy technologies not enough to sufficiently reduce carbon emissions, expert concludes." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 9 September 2010. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2010/09/100909141525.htm>.
New York University. (2010, September 9). Energy technologies not enough to sufficiently reduce carbon emissions, expert concludes. ScienceDaily. Retrieved September 1, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2010/09/100909141525.htm
New York University. "Energy technologies not enough to sufficiently reduce carbon emissions, expert concludes." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2010/09/100909141525.htm (accessed September 1, 2014).

Share This




More Earth & Climate News

Monday, September 1, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Washington Wildlife Center Goes Nuts Over Baby Squirrels

Washington Wildlife Center Goes Nuts Over Baby Squirrels

Reuters - US Online Video (Aug. 30, 2014) An animal rescue in Washington state receives an influx of orphaned squirrels, keeping workers busy as they nurse them back to health. Rough Cut (no reporter narration). Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com
Raw: Volcano Erupts on Papua New Guinea

Raw: Volcano Erupts on Papua New Guinea

AP (Aug. 29, 2014) Several communities were evacuated and some international flights were diverted on Friday after one of the most active volcanos in the region erupts. (Aug. 29) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Raw: Small Volcanic Eruption in Iceland

Raw: Small Volcanic Eruption in Iceland

AP (Aug. 29, 2014) Icelandic authorities briefly raised the aviation warning code to red on Friday during a small eruption at the Holuhraun lava field in the Bardabunga volcano system. (Aug. 29) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
As Drought Continues LA "water Police" Fight Waste

As Drought Continues LA "water Police" Fight Waste

AFP (Aug. 29, 2014) In the midst of a historic drought, Los Angeles is increasing efforts to go after people who waste water. Five water conservation "cops" drive around the city every day educating homeowners about the drought. Duration: 02:17 Video provided by AFP
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:
from the past week

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile: iPhone Android Web
Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins