Despite What You’ve Heard, Technology IS Going To Save The Planet

For decades now scientists have been worrying about the fate of the world. Rising sea levels, increasing droughts, more floods: they paint a miserable picture of what’s to come if humans don’t cut back on their CO2 emissions.

But for all their worrying, we haven’t seen the type of increase in CO2 output that many were predicting in the 1990s or the 2000s. In fact, the amount of CO2 being emitted into the atmosphere is actually leveling off, despite the growth of China and India, and the fact that two billion people have moved into the middle class. So what’s going on?

The main reason CO2 growth is slowing down has to do with technology. Simply put: it’s a heck of a lot cheaper today than it was in the past to get energy from sources other than fossil fuels. Solar panel technology is about to cross a magic threshold; the point at which it becomes cheaper to generate electricity from solar panels than it is from making it from a coal power plant.

When you think about it, this makes a lot of sense. Solar panels don’t need to be continuously fed coal, and they don’t need people to work inside them, making sure that everything is running smoothly, like a coal-fired power plant does. Instead, they just sit in a field for a couple of decades, collecting free energy from the sun. Once the economics make sense – which they will very shortly – the world will transition away from fossil fuels to something better.

But even if global warming is solved, there are other problems with human activity, right? How can technology help with those?

Recycling E-Waste

e-waste

Flickr

One of the biggest problems the world faces at the moment is disposing of e-waste. When all our electronic gadgets and gizmos get thrown into landfill, all the dangerous chemicals that they contain degrade and leach into the ground, potentially affecting our water supply. Now, though, technology experts are finding ways to safely dispose of it, removing harmful elements like cadmium and mercury in the process. CloudBlue, for instance, offers a recycling services to commercial customers who need to dispose of a lot of e-waste and want to do so at low cost.

Environmentally Friendly Spray Painting

Each year, the economy guzzles its way through billions of liters of paint. The only problem is that paint is toxic and can hurt people and local wildlife. Now companies are developing new spray painting technologies that are more friendly to the environment and give off fewer fumes. For instance, if you browse at www.reliantfinishingsystems.com/powder-coating-equipment/powder-coating-ovens/ you’ll see a company that is developing safer painting ovens. The idea is to protect the environment from paint particles and make sure that they all remain in an enclosed space, well away from people.

Algae Biofuel

Biofuel made from corn is now considered by many to be a net-negative on the environment. But according to http://content.time.com/time/specials scientists are now experimenting with another, related technology. They want to make biofuels from algae instead of corn, thereby saving precious land and allowing the prices of other crops to fall. Trials are already underway in California and Florida.

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