Jan 04, 2012— read in full
How can we save the planet?
Climate scientists have worked with the public to draw up ideas to save the planet from climate change. Find out what the top six are below.
Inventors, thinktanks and universities recently pitched their planet-saving solutions to a panel of environmental experts at the Manchester International Festival.
The panel worked with climate scientist John Schellnhuber to select the most promising suggestions. Ideas ranged from the wacky realms of science fiction to more established technology. Read on for our favourites.
Edinburgh university engineer, Professor Stephen Salter’s idea is to make clouds whiter by spraying minute water droplets into the sky. This, he says, will increase cloud cover and reflect sunlight away from the earth, reducing global warming. It’s worth remembering that Salter designed the Edinburgh Duck, a pioneering 1970s design for harnessing wave energy.
Management consultant Tim Kruger suggests tipping large amounts of lime into the oceans to increase the sea’s ability to absorb carbon dioxide from the atmosphere.
He says this will also reduce dangerous acidity which is a byproduct of decades of carbon dioxide emissions.
Mark Capron, a former naval engineer from California, plans to establish giant "forests" of kelp seaweed (a type of algae) on the surface of the ocean. The seaweed would be harvested and placed into plastic containers or ‘stomachs’ where natural bacteria would break the seaweed down into CO2 and methane. The CO2 could be stored deep under the ocean while the methane could be used as a renewable heating and cooking fuel.
Peter Scott found a way to make cooking stoves more efficient. He says that his stoves could cut the annual CO2 emissions of a household by 1-3 tonnes.
Entrepeneur Mike Mason believes that dishwasher sized ceramic fuel cells could produce enough electricity to power a home as well as hot water. The cells are more efficient than power stations which produce electricity for the grid, and remove the waste incurred in rigging up miles of electricity cables. The first domestic models would go on sale next year with a price tag of around £3,000.
Why do people acknowledge the threat of climate change but in no way change their high carbon lifestyles? Cambridge psychotherapist Rosemary Randall believes that survival lies in education and talking about the problem. She encourages people to explore their attitudes towards consumption, identity and status during a six week course. She said that on average people who completed the course reduced their emissions by a tonne immediately.