By Steve Calechman

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.

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Areas of Focus: Energy Markets
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Energy Markets
Well-functioning markets are essential for providing access to reliable, affordable energy. EPIC research is uncovering the policies, prices and information needed to help energy markets work efficiently.
Fossil Fuels
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Fossil Fuels
Under current policies, fossil fuels will play an important role in the energy system for the foreseeable future. EPIC research is exploring the costs and benefits of these fuels as...
Climate Change
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Climate Change
Climate change is an urgent global challenge. EPIC research is helping to assess its impacts, quantify its costs, and identify an efficient set of policies to reduce emissions and adapt...
Climate Law & Policy
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Climate Law & Policy
As countries around the world implement policies to confront climate change, EPIC research is calculating which policies will have the most impact for the least cost.