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Innovation in Fossil-Fuel Extraction Is Making It Harder to Create a Low-Carbon World
Steve Calechman writes about our new study, Will We Ever Stop Using Fossil Fuels.
In an unprecedented agreement, nearly 200 nations made commitments to reduce greenhouse gasses at last year's Paris climate talks. A new report written by researchers at the University of Chicago and MIT noted the significance of the move — but it also questioned where we are headed.
Will we ever stop using fossil fuels?
That was the report's title. To answer the question, the report's authors looked at the past and future of energy costs and advancements, concluding that we are not even close to phasing out fossil fuels. Political promises like the ones in Paris are getting stronger. But they're not nearly enough to put us on a path to a fossil-free world.
“There’s been tremendous innovation with low-carbon energy, but what’s often missed is that there’s been tremendous innovation in bringing down the cost in fossil fuel recovery,” said Michael Greenstone, a co-author of the study, economics professor at University of Chicago and director of the school’s Energy Policy Institute.
The path to changing the dynamic involves two essential — and much discussed — components.