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A stable, predictable climate is an essential life support function of the Earth. Human use of carbon-based fuels such as oil, natural gas, and coal has increased the quantity of greenhouse gases in the atmosphere that warm the planet. The increase in the Earth's temperature since 1850, and the increase that is forecast to occur over the next 100 years, pose grave risk to all nations. The "climate problem" and the "energy problem" thus are are intimately linked, and must be tackled together.

This Primer is designed for students and instructors in the wide range of classes that cover energy and climate issues, researchers and analysts who study the energy-climate connection, decision-makers involved in energy and climate policy, and anyone interested in gaining insight to this important issue.

The Primer is comprised of the eleven modules listed below, plus enrichment materials and resources.

  • Student Learning Outcomes
  • Case Studies
  • Key Concepts
  • Review Questions
  • Web-Based, Device Agnostic
  • Highlighting and Annotations
  • Online Glossary integrated into Text

Table of Contents

  • The Nature of Climate Change
  • Hydrocarbons Dominate Global Energy Use
  • Combustion Releases Carbon Dioxide and Black Carbon
  • Greenhouse Gas Emissions and Concentrations
  • Global Warming is Caused by Rising Greenhouse Gas Concentrations
  • Huge Quantities of Carbon Remain in the Fossil Fuel Resource Base
  • Reducing Emissions: Theory and Evidence
  • Reducing Emissions: Low-Carbon Energy Sources
  • Reducing Emissions: Energy Efficiency
  • Reducing Emissions: Carbon Capture and Storage
  • Pricing Carbon
  • Instructor Resources (Instructor access only)