Climate Change Mitigation Technologies: Prospects and Challenges

  •  Bernard Arogyaswamy    


One of the significant, perhaps momentous, developments in the effort to mitigate climate change has been the convergence around the target of Net Zero Emissions (NZE). The path to NZE envisions a massive increase in the installed capacity of renewable energies (REs)accompanied by a radical reduction in fossil energies. The paper outlines the main technologies required to make renewables a reliable alternative. Storage mechanisms such as batteries, hydrogen, and pumped storage are reviewed. Major impediments to the replacement of fossil fuels with renewable sources include technological, political, and social lock ins. Since NZE emissions are unlikely to be realized without installing negative emission devices, carbon dioxide removal methods and their concomitant challenges are discussed. Demand side mitigation in the transport, buildings, and industry sectors, relevant technological solutions, and adjustments to social preferences are briefly addressed.
In addition to analyzing the challenges to realize an NZE world, the paper cautions against a single metric focus while ignoring concerns over adaptation, rising inequalities, water and food availability, and biodiversity. The financial implications of the various mitigation technologies are highlighted along with the need to transfer technologies and funds to developing nations to avoid and/or reduce emissions. 

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