Positive Innovation On The Climate Change Front, Now And Tomorrow

Yesterday I wrote an article regarding alarming news about the acceleration of climate change.  I am not a doomsayer, simply a pragmatist that trusts the overwhelming scientific consensus.  But enough on that.  Today is a new day, one that will be focused on some positive strides in innovation that have been made for current, and possible technologies that are within our scientific and engineering reach if the proper funding were to be invested.   There’s one possibility to be discussed that might sound a bit crazy, but then again, the frontiers of science usually do, at least at first.

Good News In The World of Electric Cars

Tesla Motors, pioneers in the innovation of electric cars, have posted their first projection of profits for the next quarter.  Before learning more about that, let’s just take a moment to appreciate Mitt Romney being wrong when referring to Tesla Motors as ‘a loser’. 

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{ Reuters } The company also said that by the end of the current quarter it would be halfway to its goal of a 25 percent gross margin. The positive outlook overshadowed Tesla’s report of a wider third-quarter loss. Within four to five weeks, the company will be making 400 Model S cars per week, a rate of 20,000 per year, Chief Executive Elon Musk said on a conference call with analysts. Full Article ]

Significant Reductions To Sulfur And Nitrogen Oxides In Gasoline That May Help With Climate Change

Next off is some good news about President Obama and a move to reduce sulfur and nitrogen oxides from gasoline.  I had great hopes for President Obama, and so I’m quick to voice my disappointment when I feel he falls short of his promises, but credit should be given when and where it’s due.

The so-called Tier 3 standards would reduce sulfur in gasoline by more than 60 percent and reduce nitrogen oxides by 80 percent, by expanding across the country a standard already in place in California. For states, the regulation would make it easier to comply with health-based standards for the main ingredient in smog and soot. For automakers, the regulation allows them to sell the same autos in all 50 states. [ news.yahoo.com ]
The associated cost with this reduction of emissions is between one cent to nine cents on each gallon, depending upon who you get your information from.  Not surprisingly, it’s the oil companies that will tell you that it’ll be nine cents.  If it is nine cents, they’re most likely making a further profit from these reduced emissions.
It certainly won’t be because the cost of doing business will be too expensive to make it worth their while, not while they’ve been posting record profits every year during the global financial crisis and beyond.  But whether it’s one cent or nine, the benefits to the air we breathe, climate change or not, are worth it.  We’ll probably save the costs and then some when it comes to medical care for respiratory issues.

The Luna Ring Concept – Innovation For A Better Future

With a ‘mere’ investment of $500 billion dollars, we could perhaps build a ring of solar panels around our moon that would transmit the Suns energy back to Earth in microwaves.

The Shimizu Corporation, a Japanese construction firm, has recently proposed a plan to harness solar energy on a larger scale than almost any previously proposed concept. Their ambitious plan involves building a belt of solar cells around the Moon’s 6,800-mile (11,000-kilometer) equator, converting the electricity to powerful microwaves and lasers to be beamed at Earth, and finally converting the beams back to electricity at terrestrial power stations. The Luna Ring concept, the company says, could meet the entire world’s energy needs. [ lunarscience.nasa.gov ]
The Lunar Ring Concept - Solar Power Innovation Sounds ambitious?  Absolutely.  But the fact this is even plausible is evidence that it is not the science of healing our planet and creating sustainable energy for centuries and beyond that is the problem.  It’s the allocation of our resources; what we value, and that we as a global civilization become scientifically literate enough to understand that these investments, that these challenges, are worth it.

Innovation drives economies, and what better way to innovate than towards the general well being of the planet we live on and to the air we breathe.  We can use the present threat of climate change to drive innovation, opening up such frontiers that will inspire many into various fields of sciences and engineering.  There is hope in that in the wake of such efforts, we’ll have advanced our civilization to a point where we focus less on war and divisiveness, and more on working together for the greater well being of Mankind.

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