Why is this important? – Climate change is already showing powerful negative effects. “Green” energy is needed to reduce CO2 emissions to help stabilise the climate
Green energy : A range of technologies aimed at limiting carbon dioxide emissions whilst still powering modern societies. Technologies include the generation of green energy; the storage of intermittent energy production (such as wind) for later transmission of power; advanced battery technologies for transport; and transmission/grid management and battery technologies.
Examples : Nuclear fission; nuclear fusion; Naturally sourced low carbon technologies such as tidal, solar, wind energy and bio-mass technologies; fuel cells. For energy storage : Pumped hydroelectric storage; Compressed air storage; Electro-chemical batteries; Storage in superconducting magnets; Pumped thermal electricity storage.
Skills needed : Particularly useful skills are chemistry, physics, electrical engineering, general engineering, computer science, engineering design, electronics and control technology.
What will push development? : Increasing impact of fossil fuels on both the climate and human health. Unpredictability of traditional planting seasons; air quality; water shortages; sea level rises; and the acidification of the oceans.
Consequences : Failure to act in this area is potentially highly destabilising, fuelling : mass migration and human conflict; further destruction of important habitats for diversity and oxygen generation (such as the ocean plankton and rain-forests). There may be some mitigation by the greater rate of plant growth triggered by higher CO2 levels.