(68a) The Role of Power Generation Technology in Mitigating Global Climate Change

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Anthropogenic emissions of greenhouse gases, especially carbon dioxide, CO2, have led to increasing atmospheric concentrations which are mostly responsible for the roughly 0.8 oC. global warming the earth has experienced since the industrial revolution. With industrial activity and population expected to increase for the rest of the century, large increases in greenhouse gas emissions are projected, with additional and potentially substantial subsequent global warming predicted. Using a powerful PC-based global climate model, global warming is projected for two business as usual cases as well as simple yet instructive scenarios where major programs are initiated to limit CO2 emissions. The paper provides a brief overview of the forces driving CO2 emissions, how different CO2 emission trajectories could affect temperature this century, with a focus on power generation mitigation options, and R&D priorities. While much literature exists on various aspects of this subject, this paper aims to provide a succinct integration of our best knowledge of the projected warming the earth is likely to experience in the decades ahead, the emission reductions that may be needed to constrain this warming to tolerable levels, and the technologies potentially available to help achieve these emission reductions.

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