In terms of global warming the Earth is heading towards an irreparable state of suffering: 2020 tied with 2016 as the warmest year on record. While some are looking to government legislation to cut emissions, others are looking to technology for help.
Innovations bring hope
New technological developments are giving people hope that all is not lost. There are several ideas that could revolutionise our fight against climate change:
- Pharmacological meat intolerance
- Lab-grown meat
- Wind energy
- Direct air capture (DAC)
Pharmacological Meat Intolerance – Human Engineering
Most people associate food intolerance with illness and dietary restrictions, but the fact that the livestock industry is a massive contributor to global warming is unavoidable. Some are turning vegan but others find it impossible to give up meat.
This is where meat intolerance can make a difference. Theoretically, the immune system could be stimulated against bovine proteins, thereby creating an unpleasant physical reaction when eating meat. Scientists believe this may be achievable through patches similar to nicotine patches, although further research is needed.
In the same vein, “cultured meat” is a way of reducing meat consumption. To grow meat, stem cells from live animals are cultivated in bioreactors – devices that create biologically controlled conditions to stimulate growth of organisms.
People have already had their first taste of this lab-grown meat, and although costly, in terms of climate change it cuts down significantly on emissions from food production.
A company called Aqua Metals has developed a method to recycle lead in an environmentally-friendly way – AquaRefining. The process involves using water in an electromechanical system to produce pure lead.
Lead is used in many products, such as batteries, but lead mining results in toxic emissions containing sulfuric acid, as well as releasing lead particles into the atmosphere. Solid by-products end up as “slag”, which is highly toxic and non-recyclable.
Wind turbines are already a fairly common method of electricity production and are recognisable structures in many countries. Although there are complaints that onshore wind farms are unsightly, wind turbines are less harmful to the environment than old-fashioned fossil fuel.
A wind farm may range in size from a few turbines to several hundred – onshore or offshore. Just like when you buy cryptocurrency, these farms can generate power, which in trun generates money. Technological advancements are helping to decrease the number of turbines needed to produce the same amount of electricity, which will reduce land requirements.
Direct Air Capture
DAC, a negative emission technology, aims to capture carbon dioxide in the atmosphere and redirect it into more environmentally-friendly fuel.
It is not the same as carbon capture and storage, which enables carbon dioxide waste to be stored safely, but is a method of greenhouse gas removal that could be used to produce less climate-damaging fuel, concrete and plastics.
A Hope For The Future
Although the world seems to be heading downhill, there is – hopefully – a light at the end of the tunnel. We are already transitioning away from fossil fuels and constantly working towards more effective climate-saving technologies.
While tech does its part, it is still essential to take individual responsibility as much as possible.