Hot Topics Near-Term Phaseout of CO2

Near-Term Phaseout of CO2 Emissions

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Options for Near-Term Phaseout of CO2 Emissions
From Coal Use in the United States

NASA/NREL/Architecture 2030 - The global climate problem becomes tractable if CO2 emissions from coal use are phased out rapidly and emissions from unconventional fossil fuels (e.g., oil shale and tar sands) are prohibited. This paper outlines technology options for phasing out coal emissions in the United States by ∼2030. We focus on coal for physical and practical reasons and on the U.S. because it is most responsible for accumulated fossil fuel CO2 in the atmosphere today, specifically targeting electricity production, which is the primary use of coal. While we recognize that coal emissions must be phased out globally, we believe U.S. leadership is essential. A major challenge for reducing U.S. emissions is that coal provides the largest proportion of base load power, i.e., power satisfying minimum electricity demand. Because this demand is relatively constant and coal has a high carbon intensity, utility carbon emissions are largely due to coal.