Greenhouse gas emissions and carbon dioxide emissions in particular, have become an increasing concern in the world. Energy production from fossil fuel combustion results in the emission of greenhouse gases, the dominant contributor being CO2. Public awareness and legislation have led to a policy of reduction of greenhouse gas emissions, with the regulations partially driven by international initiatives such as the Kyoto protocol [Chu (2009), Riahi et al (2004) and Lotz and Brent (2008)]. Based on available figures from the literature, it is clear that hydrocarbons will provide much of the fuel needs for global industries for the many decades to come and meet 60% of the world’s energy demand. In addition, the growth of both power generation and transportation vehicles will lead to a continuous increase in the CO2 level in the atmosphere taking into consideration that renewable sources (such as wind, dams, and biomass) are insufficient for providing all the energy demand. The issue of global warming due to greenhouse gas emissions was the major concern of all countries in the United Nation Climate Change Conference which took place in Copenhagen, 2009. The conference emphasized the urgent need for establishing international measures for reducing carbon dioxide emissions. This is another manifestation of the urgent need to develop new technologies in the area of Carbon Capture and Sequestration.

In principle, greenhouse gas emissions from energy production can be reduced by the use of alternative energy sources such as nuclear power and renewable energy. Recently, renewable energy sources are increasingly used, however, until these sources can reliably produce significant amounts of energy, the immediate energy demand is likely to be met by conventional fossil fuel combustion. The development of CO2 capture technologies for hydrocarbon fired power and steam plants can be divided into three broad categories. The first is separation of CO2 from waste gas (post-combustion decarbonization). The second is combustion in O2 instead of air (oxyfuel combustion) and the third is production of a carbon free fuel (pre-combustion decarbonization). Each has some advantages and disadvantages, and they all result in a decrease in the efficiency and a parallel increase in the cost. The use of each of these technologies results in higher cost of equipment and lower plant efficiency. More research is needed to overcome these difficulties.

Recent Climate Change Articles / Links


Intergovernmental Panel for Climate Change (IPCC)

Fifth Assessment IPCC Report

Recent Newspaper Articles


Other Reports / Discussions

·         ABC Environment: IPCC report underlines need for climate action

·         Opinion and analysis: The IPCC report: busting the climate myths

·         Draft IPCC report predicts sea levels to rise a metre by end of century

·         Opinion and analysis: Abbott's climate change strategy holds no surprises 

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