Technology already exists to stabilize climate, say experts
GreenBiz.com,Sept. 1, 2004
PRINCETON, New Jersey Existing technologies could stop the escalation of global warming for 50 years, and work on implementing them can begin immediately, according to an analysis by Princeton University scientists.
The scientists identified 15 technologies from wind, solar, and nuclear energy to conservation techniques that are ripe for large-scale use and showed that each could solve a significant portion of the problem. Their analysis, published recently in Science, indicates that many combinations of these 15 technologies could prevent global emissions of greenhouse gases from rising for the next five decades.
The finding counters the common argument that a major new technology needs to be developed before greenhouse gases can be controlled, said professors Stephen Pacala and Robert Socolow, who conducted the study.
"It certainly explodes the idea that we need to do research for a long time before getting started," said Pacala, a professor of ecology and evolutionary biology and co-director with Socolow of Princeton's Carbon Mitigation Initiative.
"If we decide to act, we will need to reduce carbon emissions across the whole global economy," said Socolow, a professor of mechanical and aerospace engineering. "Fortunately, we have the tools to do this, especially if we think in terms of 50-year campaigns, not instant solutions."
Although the current study did not examine the costs of scaling up each of the 15 possible technologies, the authors point out that implementing the measures would likely generate economic benefits, including creating new industries, reducing the U.S. dependence on foreign oil and lessening the need for other pollution-control expenses associated with burning coal and other fossil fuels.