Екологія

At today’s rate of emissions reduction, global warming can be contained

Scientists at the University of Colorado have concluded that achieving warming of no more than 2 °C by 2100 is a very real prospect. Scientists at the University of California, Davis believe that global warming can be stopped if humanity agrees to reduce energy consumption. Scientists from Carnegie University have shown that the cheapest way to achieve zero emissions is nuclear power.

Forecasts to contain warming are real

Researchers at the University of Colorado compared the climate forecasts of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) and the forecasts of the International Energy Agency (IEA) until 2050. The IPCC forecasts have not been updated for several years, and the IEA forecasts have only recently been released. The scientists who conducted the comparative analysis noticed that the forecasts of the IEA quite fit into the “average” forecast of the IPCC. Both types of forecasts show an average global temperature increase of about 2°C (compared to the pre-industrial era) by 2100. The IPCC expert agreed that a lot has changed in the world over the past 10 years and tough forecasts of warming by 4-7°C by 2100 look unrealistic. Power engineers from the IEA take into account all the latest trends, including the decline in prices for renewable energy. The conclusion that the University of Colorado researchers make is “cautiously optimistic.” Humanity may well stay at the 2°C limit by 2100 if it continues to do what it is doing now: reduce the use of fossil fuels and deploy the use of renewable resources, if governments fulfill their promises to reduce emissions.

If everyone behaves well

Scientists from The University of California, Davis independently confirmed the findings of the Colorado researchers. Scientists have built and calculated more than 100 thousand climate forecasts up to 2100. They took into account not only technical parameters, but also the influence of society. Scientists have considered the possibility when an “alternative norm” will be formed in society. If both governments and voters support energy conservation and emission reduction policies. The models built by the University of Davis, taking into account the approval of the “alternative norm”, also predict a warming of no more than 2 °C by 2100.

Nuclear reactors against warming

Scientists from Carnegie University believes that there is a reliable and cheap way to achieve “zero emissions”. Solar and wind energy are developing all over the world. But the sun does not always shine, and the wind often subsides. In this case, as a rule, electricity from gas-fired power plants is used. Scientists believe that if nothing is changed, it will not be possible to achieve zero emissions. But it is possible to replace gas-fired power plants with nuclear ones. Reactors have changed a lot over the last 10 years. New reactors, including “traveling wave reactors”, one of which is currently being built in The Wyoming company TerraPower, uses depleted uranium as fuel. It’s just waste generated in the reactors of the previous generation. The new reactors have low pressure, so they are more reliable. Such a reactor is refueled once every 40 or even 60 years. That is, in fact, one factory refueling is enough for the entire life of the device. But scientists note another way to achieve zero emissions: it is necessary to develop powerful and cheap ways of storing electricity. But there are already reactors, but there are no such batteries yet.


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