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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.
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.
What is the ideal level of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere for human life?
Atmospheric CO2 levels of between 280 and 350 parts per million created the climate that let humanity build and feed the modern world. The farther we get from those levels, the more we run the risk of disturbing that balance.
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.