If present scientific information is reasonable, the world is likely to experience noticeable global warming by the beginning of the next century if high annual growth rates of fossil-fuel energy use continue. Only with optimistic assumptions and low growth rates will carbon-dioxide-induced temperature increases be held below 2/sup 0/C or so over the next century. Conservation, flexible energy choices, and control options could lessen the potential effects of carbon dioxide. Though perhaps impractical from the standpoint of costs and efficiency losses, large coastal centralized facilities would be the most amenable to carbon dioxide control and disposal. Yet no country can control carbon dioxide levels unilaterally. The USA, however, which currently contributes over a quarter of all fossil-fuel carbon dioxide emissions and possesses a quarter of the world's coal resources, could provide a much needed role in leadership, research and education. 70 references.