Research Article

The Technology Path to Deep Greenhouse Gas Emissions Cuts by 2050: The Pivotal Role of Electricity

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Science  06 Jan 2012:
Vol. 335, Issue 6064, pp. 53-59
DOI: 10.1126/science.1208365

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Electrifying Prospects

Greenhouse gas emissions need to be reduced in order to decrease the risk of dangerous climate change, and a commonly advocated intermediate step to decarbonizing our energy production is to cut emissions by 80% by the year 2050. Williams et al. (p. 53, published online 24 November) analyze the infrastructure and technology requirements required to meet this goal in California and conclude that simply using the most technologically advanced types of energy supply now available will not be enough. Instead, transportation and other sectors will need to be converted largely to electrical systems, which would make decarbonized electricity the dominant form of energy supply. Such a transformation will require technologies that are not yet commercialized and intensive public-private and interindustry coordination at every stage of the process.

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