Is there still hope for our planet?
As climate change continues to endanger the future for generations to come, organizations and researchers around the world are working to help curb global warming. Some of the most promising developments are listed below.
Reducing climate change starts by reducing greenhouse gas emissions. Of all the greenhouse gases, carbon dioxide (CO2) remains the most prominent and abundant human-induced gas. If large-scale companies start adopting carbon neutral policies, then there may still be hope to build ourselves a sustainable future, said Neste’s, the world’s largest producer of renewable diesel and sustainable aviation fuel, Vice Presidents, Salla Ahonen and Ilkka Räsänen say. Neste hopes to set a precedent for all companies in the future planning to go carbon neutral. There are other ways for companies to reduce CO2 emissions as well:
Shift energy supply away from dependence on fossil fuels.
Make energy efficiency in the domestic, industrial, service and transport sectors; reductions in overall demand through better system design
Reduce emissions of methane, nitrous oxide, halocarbon gases and black-carbon aerosols.
Carbon sequestration is the act of removing CO2 from the atmosphere and turning it into permanent geological, biological or oceanic reservoirs. A key step in sustainable technology relies on geoengineering. Climeworks, a company specializing in CO2 sequestration?, uses a technology called direct air capture to take CO2 out of the air. It captures CO2 from the air and then buries it deep underground, storing it away permanently as rock so that it can no longer contribute to global warming.
As easy as it is to talk about CO2 reduction, these goals are realistically hard to achieve, and some additional global warming is inevitable. Responding to and coping with climate change as it occurs will be required moving forward as well. As more CO2 is emitted in the next few decades, strong adaptive measures will continue becoming more and more crucial. We must consider not only the adaptive measures we should take, but also the cost of these measures and the feasibility of them in less developed regions.
Geoengineering remains very promising; creating large-scale engineered modifications to limit the amount of sunlight reaching the earth, in an attempt to offset the effects of ongoing greenhouse gas emissions.
One idea is to release reflective particles (aerosols) into the upper layers of the atmosphere – the stratosphere (15 to 50 kilometers altitude) – to reflect short-wave solar radiation back into space. Less solar radiation then reaches the Earth's surface, thus reducing global warming.
Cloud seeding is a weather modification technique that improves a cloud's ability to produce rain or snow by artificially adding condensation nuclei to the atmosphere, providing a base for snowflakes or raindrops to form. Forming clouds in the air will provide a protective layer from the sun to the Earth, helping reflect the suns ray back to space.
Space mirrors are designed either to reflect the Sun’s light onto or off of a planet. On December 25, 2021, James Webb Space Telescope was packed and launched into space. It’s 6.5 meter-wide primary mirror made up of gold-plated hexagonal reflectors. Though this is a telescope to image the first stars, on January 4, 2022, JWST operator completed the spacecraft's sunshield to protect the telescope from the sun's powerful radiation. It’s sunshield may spark inspiration for future development of space mirrors to protect Earth from the Sun's radiation.