As you might have notices, I have added a new Cleantech category to this blog. I expect to post there information related to all clean technologies – from green energy production to reduction of waste and everything related. I feel that it is time to start to follow news on this section after COP21 climate change summit reaches deal in Paris. World Unites For Historic Climate Change Deal: A deal to attempt to limit the rise in global temperatures to less than 2C has been agreed. The first universal and legally binding climate accord in the world will commit its signatories to limit global warming below the critical target of 2.0 degrees – or 1.5 degrees, if possible – above pre-industrial levels.
There is lots to do to as the world has united in its aim to limit warming to below 2°C (3.6°F) by the end of the century. We need to create new green energy sources and think how we use energy. We need solar energy, we need wind energy and we need other renewable energy sources. We also need to use the energy more efficiently. And we need to adapt the energy distribution systems for this new situation – electrical car charging and increasing amount of renewable energy generation add challenges. For example for solar and wind energy there is one big challenge – the generated power is intermittent – so we need some efficient way to store the energy when there is excess of it so that we can use it when sun does not shine and there is no wind. At the moment the big enough the energy storage is a real challenge that needs to be solved before we can get rid of the traditional power stations that generate power at needed rate at 24/7 without problems.
I think what we need also nuclear energy at least as an interim solution to reduce CO2 emissions. The reason for the need is that renewable energy alone is highly unlikely to scale up fast enough to provide enough energy for the world at the moment. Maybe and hopefully in the distant future, not not now or in few years. A large block of self-proclaimed pro-environmental campaigners are doing their utmost to prevent the use of our single most important low-carbon energy technology in the fight against climate change. Despite these clear findings by the world’s leading experts, anti-nuclear activists claim that nuclear cannot be even a partial solution to mitigating climate change, and are calling for nuclear to be banned. Energy4Humanity, we criticized some of the claims prominently made in support of one of the staples of established anti-nuclear activism: the Don’t Nuke the Climate campaign.
The fact is that no technology is really carbon neutral now. If someone argues, for example, that nuclear energy cannot be part of the climate fight because of (supposed) emission intensity of 66 grams of carbon dioxide per kilowatt hour (gCO2/kWh; most studies estimate figures between 10 and 20 gCO2/kWh), then surely one should conclude that solar photovoltaics (IPCC median estimate 46 gCO2/kWh) are not very good either, and that biomass (IPCC median estimate 230 gCO2/kWh) is right out?
There needs to be development in many fields to have our growing energy needs full-filled in way that generates considerably less CO2 than the current practices. And doing that takes lots of research and opens new business opportunities. This development also causes problems to some existing players that produce oil, gas and coal.
Let’s look at the new opportunities. Hopefully it will help high tech industry in Finland. The climate accord adopted in Paris on Saturday will improve the competitiveness of Finnish industries, predicts Markku Ollikainen, a professor of environmental and resource economics. The accord will according to Ollikainen boost the competitiveness of Finland relative to the rival economies that have yet to adopt an active climate policy. The metals industry will be one of the beneficiaries as China has cranked out cheap steel produced with extremely emissions-intensive technologies. The Government may also seek to promote energy efficiency in heat and electricity production. The ambitious climate objectives will have repercussions for all aspects of life in Finland by encouraging the proliferation of electric cars, and energy-efficient housing, building and renovating solutions. The question for Finland is can we take advantage of those new business opportunities better than other competitors? Engineers have a key role in the design and the construction of emission-reducing technologies. Finland has a wide range of skills, and the need for new solutions makes it possible to commercialize more cleantech innovation. Opportunities do exist, but as has been available until now – and they have been utilized in varying success. What then should be done? Designers and builders of emission-reducing technologies, engineers are key. Finland must, like other countries, to know how to pull towards home, and favor domestic technology. Companies, in turn, should take customers more involved in development work.