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The Need for Reducing CO2 emissions

Burning fossil fuels such as coal or natural gas releases carbon dioxide (CO2). Every year, millions of tonnes of CO2 are emitted into the atmosphere from power plants and certain industrial processes. CO2 has become the largest source of man-made gases responsible for climate change and ocean acidification. Reducing CO2 emissions must now become a priority if we are to minimize the consequences, such as changes in rainfall patterns, temperatures, sea level, disrupted ecosystem functioning, etc. Thus, drastic changes have to be made concerning the way in which fossil fuels are used and at what rate. Since energy use is a key cornerstone of any country’s economy, the challenge is to achieve large emission reductions, while allowing countries to develop further and improve the quality of life of their citizens.


This challenge is so large that there is no ‘single solution’ to reduce emissions of CO2 at the speed and scale needed.  The contribution of numerous technologies is required in all sectors of the economy. Increasing energy efficiency, using renewable sources such as wind or solar, nuclear energy, switching to fuels with lower carbon content (from coal to natural gas), can all help. CO2 Capture and Storage (CCS) is another technology that can help to reduce CO2 emissions. In CCS, CO2 is isolated during a combustion process and subsequently stored in deep underground rock layers.



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