The price of civilization

As the scientist Amory Lovins once observed, people don’t want energy; they want hot showers and cold beer. But basic pleasures come at a price in carbon dioxide emissions. CO2 is emitted when we burn fossil fuels (oil, gas, and coal) to produce energy, as well as in nonenergy processes (such as deforestation, or the reduction of iron ore to make steel). Based on current accounting methodologies, energy production makes up about 83 percent of CO2 emissions.

Energy use accounts for 83 percent of the CO₂ emitted across energy and land-use systems.

To read the article, see “The net-zero challenge: Accelerating decarbonization worldwide,” January 25, 2022.