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Fossil fuels such as coal, gas, & oil are cheap, combustible, & allow a country to grow its economy quickly. This is why, despite many countries enacting legislation limiting carbon emissions & increasing renewable energy sources, greenhouse gas emissions continue to grow. This case study looks at attempts by governments around the world to reduce emissions in an attempt to curb climate change.

Features and benefits

* This case study examines why fossil fuels are popular, and looks at the benefits of renewable forms of energy, such as wind and solar.
* Carbon pricing is defined, and its benefits are examined.
* Finally, this case study looks at different legislation enacted in different countries, and how successful they have been.


Denmark is one of the most progressive countries in the world when it comes to energy, and is aiming to be fossil free by 2050, in both electricity production and transportation. This ambitious policy is well on its way - the country generated 39% of its electricity by wind power in 2014.
China is the world's biggest carbon emitter, with per capita carbon emissions surpassing the EU for the first time in 2013, producing 7.2 tonnes per person, compared to the EU's 6.8 tonnes. It is still far behind the US, which produces 16.5 tonnes per person. However, due to its population size its emissions surpass those from any other country.
In the UK, the Committee on Climate Change, the government's independent advisers, estimate that carbon prices should be set at £30 (approximately $49) per tonne of carbon dioxide in 2020 and £70 (approximately $115) in 2030 in order to meet its goal to reduce carbon emissions by at least 80% by 2050 from 1990 levels

Your key questions answered

* Why do fossil fuel emissions continue to rise despite various countries' legislation to limit them?
* What is carbon pricing?
* What have different countries done to limit the use of fossil fuels and promote the use of renewable forms of energy?

Table Of Contents

Government energy legislation: Cutting emissions and increasing renewables
Fossil fuels are cheap and have boosted economies, but they are unsustainable
Fossil fuels are cheap and stable, but emit greenhouse gases
There are more fossil fuel reserves than we can safely burn
Renewables, such as wind and solar, are naturally regenerative
Renewables regenerate over a short time scale
Solar power is growing fast and the price is dropping substantially
Wind energy, particularly offshore farms, continues to grow
Carbon pricing
Carbon trading may be about to witness a surge around the world
There have been some global attempts at policy-making
Denmark and Germany are renewables leaders
Denmark's ambitious policy has created some problems
Germany's energiewende has advanced quickly, but with similar problems to Denmark
Progress in the US has varied state to state
There has been a national attempt to cut carbon dioxide emissions from coal plants
Utah has been reluctant to cut down on fossil fuels
California has boosted its renewable energy production since 1998
China is beginning to cut down on emissions
China's role as 'biggest emitter' raises questions about how to assign responsibility for emissions
Growth in China's emissions have decelerated over the last ten years
US and China have committed to capping emissions
Fossil fuel use has risen despite many countries adopting emission-cutting legislation
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