Is it Possible to Reverse Climate Change?
In today’s news bulletins, there is barely any good news in reference to the effect of rising global temperatures. It is all about how drought is affecting one region of the planet while another struggle with flooding. The data is also not any good with oceans being hotter than at any point ever recorded, sea levels rising steadily and ice sheets melting at unprecedented rates. The effect has been felt in coastal cities, local economies, and by countless species.
Unfortunately, despite the harmful effects of human activities on the environment, there is still no effective way of addressing the challenge of climate change. Experts also state that even if human reduce greenhouse emissions to zero, global warming could still continue for several more decades.
The challenge with climate change is that the main cause of global warming, carbon dioxide, can linger in the atmosphere for hundreds of years. The experts further explain that without a major action to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, the temperature could rise by an average of 6 degrees Celsius.
Nevertheless, experts give hope that it is not yet too late to reverse climate change. Although the effect cannot be avoided at the moment, worse effects of climate change can be limited or avoided. A good plan to reverse climate change should include two aspects that include mitigation and adaptation.
The mitigation aspect should focus on reducing the flow of greenhouse gases into the atmosphere while the adaptation phase should educate people on how to live with climate change. Communities must change behaviors, while governments must adopt better and effective ways to manage greenhouse gases and other harmful human activities.
Already, people have begun adapting to the changes by adopting better activities like driving electric cars and using solar-powered electricity. To ensure quick recovery from climate change people must avoid making the warming worse while also investing in technologies that can help reverse the warming trend. Here are the top 15 solutions to reverse climate change.
15 Feasible Solutions to Reverse Climate Change
Geoengineering solutions to climate change:
Geoengineering is a term that defines technology that can alter the planet’s natural cycle to create a cooling effect and thus, reverse climate change. The leading technological solutions to climate change include:
1. Carbon capture and storage
Carbon capture and storage is gaining popularity as it is considered as a safe way to fight climate change. Although the technology is still in its early stages, power plants in the US and Canada are already utilizing the technology to lower their emissions. Based on data from the Center for Climate and Energy Solutions, already 21 commercial-scale carbon capture projects are running, and about 22 were in their development stage in 2017.
The technology captures carbon emissions, preventing them from entering the environment. Some of the companies already developing the technology include Norway’s GassNova initiative. Global Thermostat is another company that uses carbon sponges to absorb carbon dioxide from the atmosphere.
2. Solar geoengineering
Solar geoengineering is a technology-based initiative that seeks to reverse climate change by injecting particles or clouds into the sky. The particles goal is to reflect the sunlight back into space. The process is also referred to as albedo modification or solar radiation management.
The technology aim is to increase the amount of solar radiation that gets reflected out from the earth into space. The idea for solar geoengineering is encouraged by the effects of volcanic eruptions. During a volcano, the eruption fills the skies with sulfur and ash, which cause the earth to cool by reflecting the light away from the planet.
However, the technology is considered controversial as it can lead to other unintended effects. Scientists claim that the volcanic effect can be created using stratospheric aerosol scattering, which involves injecting tiny shiny particles into space.
Other solutions being used to reverse climate change include:
3. Rooftop Solar
Over the last few years, solar photovoltaics has undergone exponential growth. It is estimated systems of less than 100 kilowatts accounts for about 30-percent of solar PV capacity installed globally. Experts also claim that, although the industry is still in its early stages, it is already producing about 2-percent of global energy.
The major cause of deforestation, which is considered a major contributor to climate change, has been agricultural activities. Areas that were initially under natural forests have been cleared for cultivation of palm, coffee, and tea among other cash crop plants. Silvopasture helps to reverse the effect of human activities on global warming by creating inclusive lands that allow humans and plants to thrive together.
Silvopasture is an integration of trees and pasture or forages to create a sustainable and symbiotic system. It is estimated that Silviopasture is currently being practiced in over 351 million acres of land globally.
5. Solar panels
Traditionally, communities living away from the main grids were left from the electricity supply. The effect was the use of the carbon-based solution for lighting and cooling. In other occasions, the power generating companies used coal and diesel among other fossils to generate power, increasing the emission of carbon to the environment. Solar panels are fossil fuel-free, which means they do not emit any carbon products or gases into the atmosphere.
6. Forest restoration (re-forestation and afforestation)
The forests located within 23.5 degrees north or south of the equator once hosted about 12-percent of the world’s landmasses, but that declined to just about 5-percent. The trend is common in all parts of the world. Human activities like human settlement and agricultural expansion are to blame for about 16 to 19 percent of greenhouse gas emissions caused by the loss of forest cover. Experts are encouraging restorations of forests in aim to reduce carbon dioxide in the environment. In arid and semi-arid areas or areas that are largely barren, a forest can also be planted as part of afforestation efforts.
7. Wind turbines
Wind turbines are also being adopted as an alternative to traditional electricity generation methods that lead to the releases of greenhouse gases into the atmosphere. It is estimated that about 314000 wind turbines are responsible for about 3.7-percent of global electricity. As much as the challenges of wind maybe a hampering factor, it can supplement the world’s increasing energy demands.
8. Hydrogen-boron fusion
Fossils are the biggest contributors to global warming, and as part of reversing the effects of climate change, therefore, the globe should expect new innovative ideas being fronted to help overcome the reliance on fossil fuels for energy.
Hydrogen-boron fusion is one such technology, which is considered a clean and effective source of energy. It is also safe, practical, and available for use. It is also estimated to produce four times more energy than nuclear fission with virtually no risk and waste.
9. Solid-state energy
Despite the extensive research on sources of energy, oceans remain the largest untapped sources of renewable energy. Through the use of aqua turbines, oceans are capable of generating about 80,000 terawatt-hours of power. A single terawatt is powerful enough to provide electricity to over 33 million people.
The challenge with solid-state wave management is on the affordability of the project. A company in Seattle, Oscilla Power has been able to generate power using compression and decompression technology. This shows the many untapped possible ways of reversing climate change.
10. Smart highways
The development of electric cars is changing the transportation industry, thereby substantially reducing the reliance on gasoline-powered cars. A company in Atlanta, Georgia, the Ray is bringing a positive social and environmental force into the highway systems. The company seeks to build the first sustainable highway with electric vehicles being the focal point. On the 18-miles corridor, cars emit over 100,000 tons of carbon dioxide. The project seeks to eliminate emissions by adopting the use of electric cars.
11. Artificial leaf
Surprisingly, who knew the planet earth could actually reverse the effects of climate change by developing artificial leaf. In other words, scientists are currently on a quest to develop an instrument that mimics the way a leaf works. Leaves remove carbon dioxide from the environment through a photosynthesis process. The scientists are attempting to create an ‘artificial leaf’ that will create fuels directly from the atmosphere. The goal of the project founded by Daniel Nocera is to create fuel from water and carbon dioxide.
12. Forest protection
Major and indigenous forests feature mature canopy trees and complex undergrowth plants. The forests contain more than 300 billion tons of carbon. They are also the biggest repositories of biodiversity on the planet. It is estimated that about 15 billion trees are down each year.
It is also estimated that since humans began farming, the number of trees has decreased by up to 46 percent. This means years and years of the reintroduction of stored carbon and reduction of the number of carbon sinks on earth. By preserving the remaining major and indigenous forests, it will go a long way in reversing the effects of climate change.
13. Coastal wetlands management and preservation
Along the coastline, where land and ocean meet as well as where rivers drain into oceans, lie salt marshes, seagrasses and mangroves. These coastal wetlands are in every continent except Antarctica. The wetlands provide feeding grounds for migratory birds, nurseries for fish and the first line of defense against storm surges. In deep wetland soils, the wetland ecosystems can store up to five times the carbon stored in tropical forests with mangrove forests holding up two years of world carbon emission.
14. Walkable cities
Over the last few years, the world has seen major cities in the world prioritize two feet over four wheels car. With careful planning, cities can minimize the need to use a car reducing greenhouse gases emissions. Other cities have also implemented a walk day, which is a day that prohibits the use of cars in certain sections of the city on a given day.
15. Exploration of viable nuclear options
Nuclear plants are being set up to address the challenge of electricity. Over 29 countries are already using nuclear power as an alternative to coal-fired plants. Nuclear-generated power accounts for about 11-percent of the world’s electricity. Nevertheless, nuclear is expensive and capital-intensive, which prevents its global adoption.
Although it is considered as an effective way to reverse the emissions caused by fossils, the risks raise major concern. Only the most viable nuclear options should be considered and implemented.
With ice melting in the Antarctica and major parts experiencing heatwaves, droughts, and flooding, climate change is indeed happening. It is no longer something to read on a book or the internet. It is something that everyone should be working on to help reverse the negative effects. Thankfully, by adopting some of the 15 solutions in this article, everyone can participate in reversing climate change.