The health of the Earth and climate have been on a downward trajectory since the discovery of fossil fuels – it is one of the biggest contributors to climate change. The increase in global temperatures, if not controlled, will lead to catastrophic damage. As we become more aware of the damage we cause and impact we have, the rate of technological developments to combat climate change also accelerates.
Some classic examples to combat climate change are solar panels and turbines; while they may have been around for decades, technology evolution has led to higher efficiency and thus prices have come down to become cheaper than fossil fuels globally. Despite the cost efficiency that has been fostered, they still face hurdles in distribution and storage as electricity can’t be generated without the sun shining or wind blowing.
Studies report that transport accounts for around a quarter of CO2 emissions, while road vehicles account for nearly three quarters of greenhouse gas emissions that come from transport. Taking this into consideration, we can then understand why the development of lithium-ion batteries was regarded as a big step towards a more sustainable direction. The fall of their weights and prices over time means that they are now playing a more vital role in decarbonizing the transport sector.
Despite all efforts to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, scientists report that meeting targets to limit global warming to 1.5 degrees celsius will be difficult unless we remove some of the CO2 that has already been emitted. One of the simplest ways to do this would be to plant more trees and plants, however they require large amounts of land – and in an increasingly commercially driven society, there may be more profitable uses to that land instead. Thus, many companies are experimenting with capturing CO2 from power plants that was produced in industrial processes, then transporting these emissions by pipeline to offshore storage sites – they can then no longer contribute to the greenhouse effect, and can even be synthesized to fuels for future transport systems uses. The only problem with carbon capture is the fact that only 19 facilities are experimenting, therefore its rollout may not be happening quickly enough to meet emissions reduction targets.
Ultimately, we can see huge efforts going into more sustainable technology so that there are better chances of saving our planet, but concerns still linger about which innovations will be most successful in making a difference and beating the clock. With the rate of development however, we can all stay optimistic that perhaps, this isn’t a losing battle.