Inert anodes in alumina reduction cells may bring about some advantages, but also a number of serious drawbacks. A critical evaluation of the inert anode concept as compared to state-of-the-art electrolysis cells was carried out. It was found that the specific energy consumption will be about 3 kWh/kg Al higher with inert anodes, mainly because a cell with inert anodes will require similar heat loss as a cell with carbon anodes. As a consequence; the total carbon dioxide footprint will be higher with inert anodes when the power is generated in a coal fired plant. If the power comes from a gas fired plant there is not much difference, and the full carbon dioxide reduction potential with inert anodes can only be realized when using renewable energy sources. However, a Hall-Heroult plant with carbon capture and sequestration will still require less electric power than a plant with inert anodes.