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How does the environmental impact of mining for clean energy metals compare to mining for coal, oil and gas?
Mining, whether for fossil fuels or metals used in clean energy technologies, has serious environmental impacts, and it’s hard to make apples-to-apples comparisons—except in terms of their impact on climate change, where clean energy mining is clearly better.
Can taking carbon dioxide from the atmosphere and splitting it into carbon and oxygen help stem the tide of rising greenhouse gases?
While CO2 molecules can be broken down and re-used, there are some technological hurdles to clear before we can do this cheaply, put the carbon to good use, and not emit more greenhouse gases in the process.
How will future warming and CO2 emissions affect oxygen concentrations?
Oxygen levels are declining due to the burning of fossil fuels and other kinds of pollution. While the decline won’t directly affect humans in terms of the air we breathe, certain ecosystems are much more impacted, especially aquatic ones.
Why do we compare methane to carbon dioxide over a 100-year timeframe? Are we underrating the importance of methane emissions?
This greenhouse gas is short-lived but has far greater heat-trapping potential than CO2. The more concerned we are about global warming over the next 10 or 20 years, the more emphasis we have to put on cutting methane emissions.
Why did the IPCC choose 2° C as the goal for limiting global warming?
Scientists and policymakers have long agreed that global warming beyond 2° C above the pre-industrial average would pose large and escalating risks to human life as we know it on Earth, and governments have used that number as an organizing principle.
If cities require new buildings to use 100% electric heat, will that raise or lower their greenhouse gas emissions?
Electric heating can cause a short-term rise in emissions in areas that get their electricity from fossil fuels. But without electric heat, we can’t get greenhouse gas emissions to zero.
Do we have the technology to go carbon neutral today?
We still need new breakthroughs to decarbonize many parts of our modern economy, especially if we don’t want to drive up the price of energy and goods. But we can make real progress with today’s technology, and invest in good ideas for the next generation of low-carbon solutions.