Climate change and global warming have become increasingly apparent over the past few months. While some countries have suffered its effects for decades,citizens of more “developed” countries have escaped the most catastrophic consequences. Now, faced with horrifyingly high temperatures, floods and wildfires, more people have started to realise that things must change – and not just in terms of recycling shopping bags.
Instead of merely looking to individuals to reduce their carbon footprint, scientists and governments have turned to the world of tech for potentially life-saving solutions to the climate crisis.We’ve compiled a mini guide to four of the most promising options.
- Carbon Capture Technology
Some will remember learning about global warming in school: the drawing of Earth simmering, trapped inside a bubble of greenhouse gases. Greenhouse gases are indeed a large part of our problem – carbon dioxide in particular.
Carbon capture technology is designed to reduce harmful emissions by separating and trapping the carbon dioxide; a process that cuts down greenhouse gases, but doesn’t eliminate them. There are constant developments, however, that look extremely promising. Most options currently use amine to absorb carbon post-combustion – a substance that binds with carbon dioxide and filters it into a storage unit.
- Edible Packaging
Research has shown that foregoing meat is better for the environment, but a different problem still remains: even meatless products come in plastic packaging. Even if half the world’s population recycled every scrap of plastic it wouldn’t be enough to halt climate change.
Fortunately, scientists have been working on a solution: edible packaging. Chitosan-based packaging, for example, is a derivative of chitin – a by-product of the seafood industry – and perfectly safe to consume. Some edible packaging can even provide additional nutrients to the consumer through “nutraceuticals”. This means that you could grab a bag of chips, claim an online casino sign up bonus and snack while you game – and when you’re done with your chips, you could eat the packaging too.
- Hydrogen Energy Storage
Everyone knows that fossil fuels are a big no-no, but relatively few are aware of the fact that “renewable” energy sources – solar and geothermal energy, for example – aren’t 100% reliable. Harnessing environmentally friendly resources is a critical step away from continuing global warming, but can result in unstable energy prices.
Hydrogen, on the other hand, is a safe, green and efficient source of power. The element is produced through electrolysis and is a potential path away from sometimes-unreliable resources that rely on changeable factors (sun or wind).
- Carbon Dioxide Removal Technology
Carbon dioxide removal (CDR) and carbon capture might sound the same, but refer to different technologies and processes. While carbon capture focuses on reducing the release of CO2, CDR is designed to lessen the CO2 already present in Earth’s atmosphere.
At this point the technology is still undergoing development, but offers a potential lifeline: no matter how many other measures are put in place, is highly unlikely that emissions will fall enough to halt climate change and fix the damage that is already done.
A Greener Future
These four innovations aren’t the only options, but they do offer us some hope for a more stable future. They are, however, still evolving: there is a lot of work to be done to offset the damage already done.