Keywords: energy, carbon dioxide, climate change, historical trends, mitigation options, policy instruments
Energy and the protection of the atmosphere
The essay reviews major environmental problems of energy development within a broader development and sustainability context. The role of energy in human development and major historical trends as well as their implications for carbon dioxide emissions are discussed. After summarising the scientific understanding of current and possible future climate change, the paper reviews available mitigation and adaptation options including energy efficiency improvements, fuels switching, zero-carbon energy options, emission abatement and disposal at large point sources, enhancement of natural sinks, and adaptation measures. Specific circumstances of developing versus industrialised countries are outlined. The essay concludes with a review of policy instruments that could reconcile protection of the atmosphere with human development and sustainability objectives.