Tuesday, October 1, 2013

Alternative fuels: maybe not so fast

Someone long ago pointed out that we'd run out of atmosphere -- meaning its ability to safely soak up excess CO2 -- well before we ran out of coal. Now that global warming has progressed from a seemingly remote risk to a clear and present danger, it's heartening that U.S. leaders are finally starting to tackle greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions from power plants where coal use is concentrated. Addressing such energy sector emissions is a centerpiece of the new climate plan announced by President Obama in July.

As it turns out, such action to address GHG emissions upstream, meaning in the energy and resource systems that supply the fuels used downstream in our everyday lives, is also the next important step needed to control CO2 emissions from cars and other forms of transportation.