Fusion power has been just a decade away for decades, or at least that was the joke. Yesterday it became outdated because it was revealed that nuclear fusion was ignited, stabilized, and proven to work reliably. Fusion energy is carbon-free energy production which has the potential to revolutionize how we use electricity. Hopefully we will be able to replace major power plants with this carbon free fusion solution.
To be clear, there’s still a lot to do to get fusion energy connected to the grid. We still need to focus first and foremost on renewable energy sources.
“The pursuit of fusion ignition in the laboratory is one of the most significant scientific challenges ever tackled by humanity, and achieving it is a triumph of science, engineering, and most of all, people,”LLNL Director Dr. Kim Budilsaid. “Crossing this threshold is the vision that has driven 60 years of dedicated pursuit—a continual process of learning, building, expanding knowledge and capability, and then finding ways to overcome the new challenges that emerged. These are the problems that the U.S. national laboratories were created to solve.”
Our global carbon footprint has risen dramatically since 1990, but only a few people are to blame for the worst of it. The wealthy have been increasing their carbon output without regard for anybody on the planet (or future generations). Reducing their carbon output is simple and easy, many ideas have been put on this very site. As always, we need politicians brave enough to stand up for the majority of people.
He finds that per-capita emissions of the top 1% of emitters in the world grew by 26% over 1990-2019. The top 0.01% saw an even larger rise of 80%. Meanwhile, the bottom half of emitters saw a more modest 16% increase in per-capita emissions. And the “lower- and middle-income groups of the rich countries” saw a drop in per capita emissions of 5-15%.
Information is power, and the fossil fuel companies don’t want anyone but them to have power. They have lied to governments, manipulated political parties, and publicly deny their actions are killing all of us. Obviously, that’s not good.
Now an international team of researchers and concerned organizations have launched the Global Registry of Fossil Fuels to track the work of companies which are actively extracting deadly fuels. The goal is to help decision makers from local politicians to CEOs understand the dangers of the industry and explain plainly what harm they are doing.
Countries around the world are projected to produce more than twice the fossil fuels consistent with 1.5°C by 2030. It is clear that addressing the climate crisis requires managing the supply of fossil fuels, alongside demand-side measures, and that this needs to be done fairly and equitably. The Global Registry of Fossil Fuels is therefore the first the first-ever comprehensive, independent, policy neutral and fully open-source database that demonstrates the scale of CO2 emissions associated with each country’s national reserves and production, thus enabling policy-makers, investors and others to make informed decisions to align fossil fuel production with 1.5°C, and equipping researchers with the data needed to provide timely analysis.
The simple kelp plant could help us suck carbon out of the air in large quantities, and if so then we need more kelp – and fast! Kelp is a seaweed that naturally grows up to two feet per day, which puts it on a similar growth rate to algae which is similar and we’ve looked at before as a carbon sink. Kelp is so good at using carbon that a startup is currently creating a kelp factory that functions as an industrial carbon-removal service.
The company produces groupings of kelp that float on water and absorb carbon, when they get heavy enough the groupings fall to the ocean floor. It’s an imperfect idea and still being tested, but we must remember that climate change will be addressed by thousands of little solutions and not one grand gesture.
At its core, carbon removal is “a mass-transfer problem,” Marty Odlin, Running Tide’s CEO, told me. The key issue is how to move the hundreds of gigatons of carbon emitted by fossil fuels from the “fast cycle,” where carbon flits from fossil fuels to the air to plant matter, back to the “slow cycle,” where they remain locked away in geological storage for millennia. “How do youmovethat?” Odlin said. “What’s the most efficient way possible to accomplish that mass transfer?” The question is really, really important. The United Nations recently said that carbon removal is “essential” to remedying climate change, but so far, we don’t have the technology to do it cheaply and at scale.
By now you’ve heard that the most recent IPCC report shows that humanity is in a dire situation and we need to act now to avoid making the planet uninhabitable to humanity. That is, if we keep doing what we’re currently doing with too much consumption and the use of planet-destroying gas and oil. So let’s change what energy sources we use while reducing excessive consumption by the extra wealthy. It really is that simple and all we need to do it act.
To save the planet vote for politicians that want to curb carbon output and increase the use of renewables. Whenever possible get rid of gas-consuming devices in your life and use 100% electric replacements.
The most heartening section of the report is on alternatives to fossil fuel use. The overarching solution to our energy needs is to electrify everything we can, from heating buildings to transport, and power everything using clean renewables and storage. We are getting a huge helping hand from great leaps forward in clean technology.
Between 2010 and 2019, the report says that the cost of solar energy plummeted by 85%, wind energy by 55% and lithium-ion batteries by 85%. These are staggering figures that point to a radically reshaped energy future. With the tsunami of suffering that is about to engulf UK households from soaring energy costs set by skyrocketing gas prices, everyone in government needs to see this message. There is a cheaper, cleaner way.