"The debate has ended over whether global warming is a problem caused by human activity. Consequently, we can and must act now to solve the problem, or else we will bequeath a dangerous and diminished world to our children and grandchildren."

  • Senators John McCain of Arizona and Joe Lieberman Connecticut
    February 13, 2007

"It is a planetary emergency and we have to act quickly... It is the most dangerous challenge we've ever faced, but it is also the greatest opportunity we have had to make changes."

  • Former Vice President and Nobel Prize Winner Al Gore
    October 12, 2007

"I recognize that the surface of the earth is warmer and that an increase in greenhouse gasses as caused by humans is contributing to the problem"

  • President George Bush
    July 2005

Understanding Energy & Global Warming

The Basics of Global Warming

Global warming is defined as "the increase in the average temperature of the Earth's near-surface air and oceans in recent decades and its projected continuation" or simply put, "the warming of the Earth." With more and more scientific data and greater media, legislative and consumer attention on this important issue, the debate on what is causing global warming has come to an end. Today's focus is on acting immediately to reduce carbon emissions and other greenhouse gases from human activities including industrial processes, transportation, forestry, agriculture and electric generation.

The Basics of Electrical Engineering

Electricity generation — turning energy into electricty — is accomplished through a number of different methods. Common methods include:

  • burning fossil fuels such as oil, coal or natural gas;
  • harnessing a nuclear reaction;
  • and tapping into renewable resources by capturing kinetic energy from moving wind and using photovoltaic and solar technologies to generate electricity from the sun.

Unfortunately, the electricity we currently generate in the United States is responsible for approximately 38 percent of carbon dioxide emissions, making it the largest single source overall. Nuclear and renewable energy, however, are clean energy sources that produce very few or no greenhouse gas emissions. But right now, nuclear energy produces only 20 percent of electricity in the U.S. As we work to confront the issue of global warming, it is absolutely clear that we must address and adjust the way we generate electricity.