Cutting-edge tech

More tech breakthroughs are needed — in addition to deploying the technology we already have — if the world is really going to slow climate change, Axios’ Ben Geman and Andrew Freedman report.

  • Why it matters:The world is nowhere close to achieving — or even starting — the emissions cuts needed to keep the Paris Agreement’s temperature targets within reach.

To get there, today’s technologies, including renewable energy sources and electric vehicles, will have to be deployed faster.

 Here’s the spectrum of what’s happening:

  1. On one end are established and increasingly mainstream systems like solar, wind, heat pumps and electric cars that are gaining market share.
  2. Then, in the middle, there’s a wide swath of technologies that are well known, but require varying degrees of advances on cost and scale. These include carbon capture, “green” hydrogen, long-duration battery storage and cleaner aviation fuels.
  3. On the other end are new, unproven systems that could make a major dent in greenhouse gas emissions. Think of “direct air capture” and other methods of hastening removal of CO2 that’s already in the atmosphere — as opposed to carbon capture, which blocks the CO2 from entering the atmosphere in the first place.

 What’s next: Stanford energy expert Arun Majumdar tells Axios that the progress on solar, wind and batteries has been “fantastic,” but “that took 30 years.”

  • “The only thing is that we cannot wait for 30 more years. And so the question is, can we accelerate some of the innovations going on?”

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