We all are more informed now than ever before about global warming and associated problems. The issues concern and directly affect the world and are not just confined to specific nations. There have been instances where threats like acid rain: its causes and consequences were discovered by the U.K scientists somewhere in the 19th century however the topic was largely ignored.

It has become human nature to continue to be blind to alarming threats until they become so colossal that the very solution becomes a farfetched dream.

This is what has been the case with an environmental concern: global warming.

Scientists across the globe have become an integral part of the controversy: if technology is the solution to the problem or not. Some believe it is, while some dismiss the very need to address global warming. It is widely believed that we are capable of combating the problem by some innovation in technology. Nevertheless the sheer magnitude of the situation is enough to dismantle us of this notion. . The scientists identified 15 technologies — from wind, solar and nuclear energy to conservation techniques — that are ripe for large-scale use and showed that each could solve a significant portion of the problem.

A leading nation waging battle against global warming and the subsequent climate change is California that has become an exemplary case for the rest to follow. Its investors have poured hundreds of millions of dollars into green technology companies and its citizens have cut per-capita emissions of greenhouse gases by nearly 10 percent in recent years.

We have had great inventions in the past which made our lives very convenient. It is now time to use the same weapon of technology to overcome this great hurdle that might as well cost us our planet.

Companies are starting to realize the benefits of using technology to drive efficiencies into their business.

Some of the initiatives taken are as follows:

The Carbon Sequestration Leadership Forum (CSLF) is collaboration among the United States, Australia, Brazil, Canada, China, Colombia, the European Commission, France, Germany, India, Japan, Mexico, Norway, the Russian Federation, South Africa and the United Kingdom to develop improved, cost-effective technologies for CO2 capture and long-term storage.

The problem is that developing countries even if keen on reducing CO2 emissions find it hard an exercise because of lack of infrastructure in research and development as well as paucity of funds. CSLF members try to provide such technologies to the developing nations.

CO2 sequestration comprises of two parts—

CO2 capture and storage.

In CO2 capture, carbon dioxide is collected from gaseous emissions — anthropogenic, or human-made – arising from fossil-fuelled power plants. Emissions are captured, the CO2 is stripped out by chemical methods, and the CO2 can be reused.

In CO2 storage, the captured gases are injected into geologic formations like sandstone or limestone saline aquifers and old oil and gas fields and they remain for centuries or longer, but geologists are still investigating what happens to the gas once it is underground.

This could play a pioneering role with further improvements in technology.

Another major technological evolution has been the development of nitrogen use efficiency crops.
Nitrogen Use Efficiency (NUE) crops use significantly less nitrogen fertilizer—up to two-thirds less than conventional varieties while the yield remains unaffected. NUE technology has been demonstrated in multiple key crops, and development work is planned in major crops, including canola, rice, wheat, corn, cotton, sugar beets and sugarcane.

Since nitrogen fertilizer is a major source of agricultural GHGs, NUE technology benefits the environment. By applying less nitrogen fertilizer to crops, the amount of nitrogen that volatizes in the form of N2O is reduced. This gas is a significant contributor to the phenomenon of global warming and so with lesser use of these fertilizers we would be able to bring about drastic slow down in GHG’S from agriculture alone!

NUE technology also benefits farmers, since nitrogen fertilizer costs represent a significant portion of crop growing costs. Lowered requirements for nitrogen fertilizer means more profit for farmers. Thus, growers have a powerful incentive to use NUE technology because it makes economic sense for them to do so. The reduced need for nitrogen by NUE plants also means less nitrogen entering and contaminating ground and surface water. The nitrogen fertilizers are responsible for the creation of dead zones. Dead zones result from the decomposition of massive algae blooms that are fed by excessive nutrient runoff. This could affect human beings and also fishing besides affecting the health of human beings.

There is ample evidence that technology can do a lot more in concrete terms than we can imagine. Instead of making use of great human skills in making disastrous weapons we need to mobilise the people of this planet in doing something that can protect us from the inevitable catastrophe that is in store of us.

Aakriti Ahuja

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