It’s all about emissions, baby!
There’s a growing consensus among leaders around the world that we are spewing too much CO2 when we burn fossil fuels to make energy.
Energy is defined as the “ability to do work,” which is pretty broad and a little vague. What kinds of “work” do we do and and how can we minimize the impact of our energy generation on the planet?
In the United States and other wealthy countries, mostly we use energy for
- electricity: this is mostly in the form of power plants that send the electricity they generate through wires connected to our homes, businesses and industries
- transportation: cars, trucks, trains, buses, airplanes that move people and goods
- heating and cooling our homes, industries and other kinds of businesses: sometimes this comes from electricity and sometimes from other forms of energy like gas and oil
- making energy: an example of this is transporting coal to power plants where it is then used to make electricity.
So, what’s wrong with how we get and use our energy, and what can we do about it?