Summary of Carbon’s Future in Black and White

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Can renewable energies such as solar, wind and batteries save Earth from the ravages of global warming? Climatologists aren’t sure whether those technologies can overcome humanity’s addiction to cheap fossil fuels, which cause the lion’s share of carbon emissions. Superpowers like the United States and China are taking advantage of the falling prices of renewables and cutting back on coal use, but developing countries directly offset those efforts. Nature contributor Jeff Tollefson will help you better understand this delicate dance, but don’t assume you will come away optimistic.

In this summary, you will learn

  • Why time is running out to meet the global warming goals set by the Paris Agreement;
  • How the falling costs of renewable energy might save the day; and
  • How economic and political pressures affect Earth’s steep path toward climatological disaster.

About the Author

Jeff Tollefson is a contributor to Nature and other scientific magazines.



Clean, renewable fuels may save the world from global warming, but slow governmental responses might still doom the planet.

Most countries remain dependent on cheap fossil fuels for energy, even though prices for solar, wind and battery technologies are falling. Faced with economic challenges, many developing countries are likely to miss carbon emission targets recommended by the 2015 Paris Climate Agreement. Even small increases in infrastructure activity can spike carbon emissions.

Researchers are examining the correlation between increased use...

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