'Only technology revolution can save the Earth'

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The Independent Online

Diplomacy has failed – meaning that only a revolutionary advanced technology will save the Earth from relentless global warming driven by greenhouse gas emissions, scientists warned yesterday.

Diplomacy has failed – meaning that only a revolutionary advanced technology will save the Earth from relentless global warming driven by greenhouse gas emissions, scientists warned yesterday.

Avoiding a catastrophic effect on climate from the burning of fossil fuels would require political will, international cooperation and huge resources, said the team from a group of American universities. But "no amount of regulation" could solve the problem, they said.

Instead it would need dramatic leaps in technology, such as working fusion reactors, solar panels the size of Manhattan floating in space, and a "global grid" of superconducting power transmission lines to distribute electricity without loss around the world.

Even short-term "defensive" measures – such as removing carbon dioxide from the atmosphere and burying it in underground reservoirs, or filling the upper atmosphere with reflective molecules, or building a 1,250-mile-wide mirror in space to divert some of the sun's rays – remain far beyond our capability, said Dr Martin Hoffert, professor of physics at New York University.

The researchers reported their findings in the journal Science, calculating that the world's primary power requirements could triple in the next 50 years.Models indicated the Earth's temperature could climb by up to 4.5C over the next century – a temperature change equal to that of the global cooling which caused the last Ice Age.

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