The mismatch and the disparity between countries emitting greenhouse glasses and the countries suffering through climate catastrophes are startling. Afghanistan emits under 0.03%but is one of the most vulnerable countries to climate change. On the flip side, the USA, one of the most advanced and developed countries in the world contributes to 20% of greenhouse gas emissions. Since 1850, the USA has emitted over 500 billion tons of greenhouse gases.
It is the already developed countries that need to adopt sustainable practices as soon as possible. In lower-income third-world countries, the per capita emissions are very low, still, it is the poor countries and the countries near the equator that are paying the price for the rising temperatures. Billions of dollars are being invested as a show of faith in our scientific communities to find solutions. The magic to cure climate change lies in our ability as a species for ingenious innovations.
The world is expected to add more than two trillion sq. ft of new building space by 2060. That is equivalent to adding another New York city every month for the next 40 years. Thus, the materials that we use to build our homes ought to be unpolluting. Limestone in the process of making cement releases copious amounts of carbon dioxide. What some companies are doing today is that they are redirecting this CO2 to the start of this manufacturing process, making the cement much more durable, and very little CO2 is churned out from thereon. If all the cement today we use would be green, that would be equivalent to mitigating 500 megatons of carbon dioxide, equivalent to 100 million cars taken off the road and planting of 500 million acres of trees annually.
Around 24% of greenhouse gas emissions are from the agriculture and livestock sectors. Meat accounts for 60% of emissions from food production. The meat industry is the biggest contributor to deforestation, because a lot of land is required for the grazing of animals. Livestock is also responsible for methane production, a gas that has 20 times more warming power than CO2. Lab meat is made using animal cells and proliferatesin a controlled lab environment. Lab-grown meat has been very close to replicating the taste of actual meat.
Plant-based meats have also become quite trendy. Mock meat companies are gaining more and more funding from investors and traction from customers. McDonalds has made plant-based meat available in their stores in countries like the UK and Germany, and it’s only a matter of a few years before it becomes a mainstream thing.
Carbon capture and storage
Direct air capture systems suck large amounts of polluted air out of the environment. The major roadblock in its proliferation has been the fact it is way too expensive to build. In 2021, 40 million tons of CO2were captured by CCS projects. That is just 0.1% of our total emissions. By 2030, it is expected we will expand our carbon capture capacity by six times. These systems need to be near the source of emissions, so the key lies in making the economics of it attractive, incentivizing companies to undertake such expensive projects. Many oil and gas companies today have installed CCS and are selling the captured CO2 to other industries that can make use of it i.e. soft drink and fertilizer companies.
There have also been significant advances in energy storage and battery efficiencies that are making renewable energy and EVs a part of daily life of the common man. The key lies in making advanced technology affordable and accessible to consumers and businesses, and over time familiarising them so these breakthroughs become mainstream and don’t remain niche and alien concepts.
About The Author :
The Author is the Senior Vice President (Sr. VP) of Oorjan Cleantech (https://www.oorjan.com). Oorjan is one of India’s fastest-growing solar companies, co-founded by IITians and ex-bankers.