Decarbonization tends to refer to the process of reducing carbon intensity, lowering the amount of greenhouse gas emissions produced by the burning of fossil fuels.
Generally, this involves decreasing CO2 output per unit of electricity generated.
Reducing the amount of carbon dioxide occurring as a result of transport and power generation is essential to meet global temperature standards set by the Paris Agreement.
This agreement, ratified by 174 countries, aims to hold global temperature rise well below 2 degrees Celsius above the pre-industrial level.
Decarbonization involves increasing the prominence of low-carbon power generation, and a corresponding reduction in the use of fossil fuels.
This involves in particular a use of renewable energy sources like wind power, solar power, and biomass.
The 3 pillars of decarbonization — electrification, decarbonization of electricity, energy efficiency — intertwine and support each other.
Electric transportation is only one part of a bigger solution, but an essential part.
Capping greenhouse gas emissions from fossil fuel power stations by installing carbon capture and storage (CCS) technology is also expected to play an increasing role.
Currently, heavy industry (cement, steel and chemicals) and heavy-duty transport (mainly shipping and aviation) account for 30% of CO2 emissions, worldwide.
Energy consumption over a large range of sectors – including transport, heating, construction, production – is the biggest source of human-caused greenhouse gas emissions, providing 73% of global carbon output.
Iceland is the only nation to currently have 100% of its energy derived from natural sources, with 73% sourced from hydropower, and 27% coming from geothermal power.