Human Impacts and Management of Carbon Sources
Human Impacts and Management of Carbon Sources The energy system dominates human-induced carbon flows on our planet. Globally, six billion tons of carbon are contained in the fossil fuels removed from below the ground every year. More than 90% of the carbon in fossil fuels is used for energy purposes, with carbon dioxide as the carbon product and the atmosphere as the initial destination for the carbon dioxide. Significantly affecting the carbon flows associated with fossil fuels is an immense undertaking. Four principal technological approaches are available to affect these carbon flows: (1) Fossil fuels and other energy resources can be utilized more efficiently; (2) Energy sources other than fossil fuels can be used; (3) Carbon dioxide from the combustion of fossil fuels can be trapped and redirected, preventing it from reaching the atmosphere (fossil carbon sequestration); and (4) One can work outside the energy system to remove carbon dioxide biologically from the atmosphere (biological carbon sequestration). An optimum carbon management strategy will surely implement all four approaches and a wise R&D program will have vigorous sub-programs in all four areas. These programs can be effective by integrating scenario analyses into the planning process. A number of future scenarios must be evaluated to determine the need for more »
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