This page provides an overview of climate change technologies. A combination of these is necessary to combat climate change.
Carbon pricing would help reduce coal, oil, and natural gas all at the same time, while encouraging companies to innovate. As such, it is one of the most powerful tools to combat climate change. This would be a tax on polluting companies with a dividend back individuals. See the Citizens Climate Lobby and the Energy Innovation Act for more information.
Nuclear power can provide baseload non-carbon electricity. It is less popular with the public due to the radioactive waste generated. Technology for small modular reactors allows deployment faster and in more remote areas, with lower risk and longer operation before refueling.
The amount of solar installations is increasing and the cost has dropped to about the same as a natural gas facility per kwh. Solar thermal facilities can help solve some of the intermittency issue.
The problem of the land area required for solar can be alleviated by adding solar panels to existing roof tops. As an example, California produced 35% of its power from wind and solar and 9% from nuclear (2021).
Wind is a popular renewable. Like solar, installations are increasing and prices dropping. It is also intermittent and advances in battery technology / pricing would be beneficial.
Off shore wind is conveniently plentiful along the densely populated United States east and west coasts.
As an example, Germany produced 42% of their power from wind, solar, and biomass in 2019 and plans to be greater than 80% by 2050.
New Zero Carbon
Geothermal / Hydro
Hydropower and geothermal power are excellent sources of renewable electricity. These can only be harvested in particular geographies, and should be fully utilized.
This category is for technologies being researched, such as, nuclear fusion or thorium-based nuclear fission.
Bioenergy with carbon capture and storage (BECCS) converts biomass to heat, electricity, or fuel and then the CO2 generated in sequestered. Sequestration can be costly, but the technology is well developed. CO2 has been injected for decades for enhanced oil recovery (EOR). More information
Electric Vehicles (EV)
Hydrogen is an important fuel for uses that cannot be electrified.
Blue hydrogen is produced in the traditional way from natural gas; however, the CO2 produced is sequestered. Green hydrogen is produced from water using renewable electricity. More on green hydrogen
Hydrogen demand is growing as a fuel. 2018 usage of hydrogen was 50% for ammonia production, 22% for refinery applications, 14% for methanol, and 14% other. Hydrogen from biomass report
Electric transportation is an important part of stopping climate change. However, the electricity to power the electric cars, buses, and trains would have to come from carbon-free energy to be effective.
Second generation biofuels use non-food crops to produce fuel.
Third generation biofuels are produced from algae. Algae has many advantages. It can be grown and harvested continuously, year round and grows at a faster rate than plants.
These biofuels are important for services which cannot be electrified, such as, air travel.
Building and Industry
Energy efficiency can have a big impact on overall electricity demand. It also saves money, so it is a win-win.
Electrification means converting gas or oil fueled equipment to electric. For example, electric water heaters and dryers can save emissions. Just like electric vehicles, this only helps if the electricity source is renewable or carbon free. This applies to industrial facilities as well. For example, changing a boiler or cement kiln to electric.
Methane / Other Gases
Methane is a much more potent green house gas (GHG) than CO2, 28-36 times more than CO2. Methane produced from land fill gas and dairy farms is increasingly being gathered and treated to make renewable natural gas (RNG) which can be added to the natural gas supply system.
Methane is also produced from oil and gas production. This can be utilized with various stranded gas technologies, but legislation would be needed to enforce them.
Fluorinated gases are used as refrigerants and are released in small quantities; however, their global warming potential (GWP) is 12,000 to 17,000.
N2O is a GHG released from farming and can be curtailed by not adding too much fertilizer.
Preventing deforestation isn't a technology but it is an important part of stopping climate change. When trees are cut down more carbon dioxide is released and less is absorbed. Brazil has lost 20% of its rainforest to deforestation, making it one of world’s biggest contributors to greenhouse gases and global climate change.
Globally, cement contributes 8% of green house gas emissions. Some companies have developed carbon neutral cement processes. Carbon Neutral Concrete
Here is an article on Carbon Neutral Plastics.
Carbon removal includes a variety of different technologies to remove CO2 which is already in the atmosphere. This includes afforestation, soil sequestration, direct air capture (DAC), biochar, mineralization, and geoengineering. Ocean based technologies are also included: restoring mangroves (a huge carbon sink), cultivating seaweed, and alkalinity enhancement. Carbon utilization - using CO2 to make useful products - is also in this category.
See Air Miners for a full set of webinars and pod casts.
Newlight - plastics from CO2 emissions.