A drastic switch to low carbon-emitting technologies, such as wind and hydroelectric power, may not yield a reduction in global warming until the latter part of this century, research published by Institute of Physics (IOP) suggests.
Furthermore, it states that technologies that offer only modest reductions in greenhouse gases, such as the use of natural gas and perhaps carbon capture and storage, cannot substantially reduce climate risk in the next 100 years.
The study, published Feb. 16, in IOP Publishing’s journal Environmental Research Letters, claims that the rapid deployment of low-greenhouse-gas-emitting technologies (LGEs) will initially increase emissions as they will require a large amount of energy to construct and install.
These cumulative emissions will remain in the atmosphere for extended periods due to the long lifetime of CO2, meaning that global mean surface temperatures will increase to a level greater than if we continued to use conventional coal-fired plants.
Delaying the rollout of the technologies is not an option however; the risks of environmental harm will be much greater in the second half of the century and beyond if we continue to rely on coal-based technologies.
The researchers, from Intellectual Ventures and the Carnegie Institution, Stanford, arrived at their conclusions through a set of simple mathematical models that calculated the effect of switching energy technologies on the concentration of greenhouse gases, radiative forcing (the balance between absorbed and radiated energy from the sun) and global mean temperature.
Coal-based power plants were used as the basis for comparison because they generate the most greenhouse gases per unit of electricity produced—replacing plants of this kind will have the greatest benefits on the climate.
These power plants were compared to wind power, nuclear power, hydroelectric power, carbon capture and storage, and natural gas. Solar photovoltaics (harnessing the sun for electricity) and solar thermal (harnessing the sun for heat) were also compared.
"Achieving substantial reductions in temperatures relative to the coal-based system will take the better part of a century, and will depend on rapid and massive deployment of some mix of conservation, wind, solar, and nuclear, and possibly carbon capture and storage,” the researchers write.
For more information, click here.
- Singapore Will Plant One Million Trees by 2030 - EcoWatch ›
- Australia to Build the World's Largest Solar Farm to Power Singapore ›
- Giant Water Battery Cuts University's Energy Costs by $100 Million ... ›
EcoWatch Daily Newsletter
By Tara Lohan
In 1999 a cheering crowd watched as a backhoe breached a hydroelectric dam on Maine's Kennebec River. The effort to help restore native fish populations and the river's health was hailed as a success and ignited a nationwide movement that spurred 1,200 dam removals in two decades.
Transmission lines from the Churchill Falls generating station in Labrador. Douglas Spott / CC BY-NC 2.0
Atlantic sturgeon were brought to the brink of extension in the 20th century and are now are listed as an endangered species. NOAA
Near Happy Valley-Goose Bay on the Churchill (Grand) River downstream from Muskrat Falls. Douglas Sprott / CC BY-NC 2.0
Construction of the Site C dam in British Columbia in 2017. Jason Woodhead / CC BY 2.0
The Block Island Wind Farm off the coast of Rhode Island is the first U.S. offshore wind farm. Dennis Schroeder / NREL / CC BY-NC-ND 2.0
We pet owners know how much you love your pooch. It's your best friend. It gives you pure happiness and comfort when you're together. But there are times that dogs can be very challenging, especially if they are suffering from a certain ailment. As a dog owner, all you want to do is ease whatever pain or discomfort your best friend is feeling.
The excess carbon dioxide emitted by human activity since the start of the industrial revolution has already raised the Earth's temperature by more than one degree Celsius, increased the risk of extreme hurricanes and wildfires and killed off more than half of the corals in the Great Barrier Reef. But geologic history shows that the impacts of greenhouse gases could be much worse.
- Earth Is Hurtling Towards a Catastrophe Worse Than the Dinosaur ... ›
- Are We Doomed If We Don't Curb Carbon Emissions by 2030 ... ›
- Humans Release 40 to 100x More CO2 Than Volcanoes, Major ... ›
By Teri Schultz
Europe is in a panic over the second wave of COVID-19, with infection rates sky-rocketing and GDP plummeting. Belgium has just announced it will no longer test asymptomatic people, even if they've been in contact with someone who has the disease, because the backlog in processing is overwhelming. Other European countries are also struggling to keep up testing and tracing.
Meanwhile in a small cabin in Helsinki airport, for his preferred payment of a morsel of cat food, rescue dog Kossi needs just a few seconds to tell whether someone has coronavirus.