The Role Of Fossil Fuels In The 21st Century

Energy Scenario and Climate Aspects

I. Lakatos and J. Lakatos-Szabo

Research Institute of Applied Chemistry, University of Miskolc, 3515 Miskolc-Egyetemvaros POB 2, Hungary

Abstract: According to a widely accepted forecast the global energy consumption, which is roughly 400 EJ today, will quadruple by the end of the century and the use of fossil fuels will probably increase until the middle of the century. Hence, the energy scenario definitely implies that the emission of greenhouse gases will also increase by a minimum 30%, leveling off at that value for the coming decades. Unfortunately, a simplified idea is that the use of fossil fuels is solely responsible for global warming, and hence climatic changes. Although the anthropogenic impact on climate is represented by only 15% of carbon dioxide emissions, this is the area where science and engineering can focus all efforts to influence its detrimental effects. The small anthropogenic effect on climate, however, clearly proves that the earth is extremely vulnerable to even marginal changes in the atmosphere, hydrosphere and lithosphere.

Key words: energy scenario, fossil fuels, emission of greenhouse gases, global warming, climate, emission trading, sequestration

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