The pathway toward implementing the changes necessary in the energy sector to keep global temperature rises from breaking through catastrophic barriers is narrow and tenuous and will require a range of zero- and low-carbon technologies to be dispatched at a speed and scale that is virtually unprecedented. Decarbonization through renewables, matched with the more efficient use of energy in the end-use sectors will play a large part. But there is growing realization that there will be residual fossil fuel use long into the future, and that the emissions from the burning of these fossil fuels in power plants and factories will need to be mitigated through carbon management facilities including carbon capture, utilization, and storage, and direct air capture projects. This article presents the size of the challenge and takes stock of the gap between deployment today and the volumes required to effectively bring the energy system to net zero. It also investigates the increasing divergence between the worldviews of those who call for a “phaseout” of fossil fuels and those who call for the “phaseout of fossil fuel emissions,” i.e., those who believe that the bulk of decarbonization will occur through the substitution of fossil fuels with renewables versus those who argue that carbon management technologies mean that we can meet our environmental targets while maintaining the status quo in the energy sector.



To view the content in your browser, please download Adobe Reader or, alternately,
you may Download the file to your hard drive.

NOTE: The latest versions of Adobe Reader do not support viewing PDF files within Firefox on Mac OS and if you are using a modern (Intel) Mac, there is no official plugin for viewing PDF files within the browser window.