The status and prospects of renewable energy for combating global warming
Reducing anthropogenic greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions in material quantities, globally, is a critical element in limiting the impacts of global warming. GHG emissions associated with energy extraction and use are a major component of any strategy addressing climate change mitigation. Non-emitting options for electrical power and liquid transportation fuels are increasingly considered key components of an energy system with lower overall environmental impacts. Renewable energy technologies (RETs) as well as biofuels technologies have been accelerating rapidly during the past decades, both in technology performance and cost-competitiveness -- and they are increasingly gaining market share. These technology options offer many positive attributes, but also have unique cost/benefit trade-offs, such as land-use competition for bioresources and variability for wind and solar electric generation technologies. This paper presents a brief summary of status, recent progress, some technological highlights for RETs and biofuels, and an analysis of critical issues that must be addressed for RETs to meet a greater share of the global energy requirements and lower GHG emissions.
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