Climate change is a huge issue today. It is the result of a wide range of technologies that have been helpful to humans but have really hurt the planet. The global temperature is expected to increase between 0.5 degrees Fahrenheit to 8.6 degrees Fahrenheit by 2100. While that kind of temperature change may not seem like much, even a one-degree temperature shift can cause catastrophic damage to wildlife and their habitats.
Today, scientists are trying to combat climate change through innovation and advances in technology. Let’s run through a few discoveries that are helping fight climate change.
1. Plastic-eating enzymes
Plastic has now found its way into wildlife and even into some animals’ bloodstreams. This is a terrifying thought.
A group of researchers in Japan accidentally discovered an enzyme that can break down plastic. The process breaks down plastics in a matter of days rather than the hundreds of years that it takes plastic to break down otherwise.
Using this enzyme correctly could result in a reduction in the total amount of plastic on Earth.
2. Solar panels that harvest energy from sun and raindrops
Solar panels provide a clean source of energy, and using them can result in decreased reliance on fossil fuels. Today, scientists are testing out the use of full solar panel roads to gather even more sunlight to convert to energy.
Developments in China have also led to research that indicates we might be able to get energy from raindrops in addition to sunlight.
3. Genetic modification for some crops
Climate change has taken a toll on areas that grow crops like coffee, chocolate, and corn. Increased risk of drought, flooding, and pests, much of which are the result of climate change, has made growing these crops even harder.
Genetic modifications of these crops could help them become more drought or flood-resistant. They might also be able to repel certain pests as well.
While this new technology does not necessarily combat climate change directly, it certainly decreases its effects.
4. Carbon capture technologies
The amount of carbon dioxide trapped in the atmosphere is largely to blame for the increased temperature on Earth. Researchers at Tuskegee University have developed a new way to capture carbon dioxide that may be more effective and environmentally friendly compared to other methods. It may also be less expensive.
This new technology relies on nanocellulose, an agricultural waste product, to capture, store, and release carbon dioxide from the atmosphere without any external influences.
5. Alternative foods for cows
You might be surprised to learn that a huge amount of methane gas is released into the atmosphere because of cow burps—yes, cow burps. Cattle ferment food in their stomachs as part of their normal digestion process, leading to a lot of burping.
We have recently discovered that by supplementing cattle food with seaweed, cows can get the nutrition they need while also cutting down the amount of burping. Seaweed might reduce methane emissions by up to 80 percent.
Currently, there is not enough seaweed to go around, but scientists are also working on that.