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Alternative energy is any energy source that is an alternative to fossil fuel. These alternatives are intended to address concerns about such fossil fuels.
The nature of what constitutes an alternative energy source has changed considerably over time, as have controversies regarding energy use. Today, because of the variety of energy choices and differing goals of their advocates, defining some energy types as "alternative" is highly controversial.
In a general sense, alternative energy as it is currently conceived, is that which is produced or recovered without the undesirable consequences inherent in fossil fuel use, particularly high carbon dioxide emissions, an important factor in global warming.