Climate change: 10 ideas to save the planet

Channel 4 News with the assistance of my colleagues at the Science Media Centre in London, approached the scientific community in the UK to get their views on how best to tackle climate change.

Here’s what Channel 4 News asked scientists:

“What idea, policy or technology holds the greatest promise for tackling climate change?”

Their answers: (full coverage here)

1. Climate of apathy
We may be able to engineer solutions to the climate change problem – but can we engineer societies to become “responsible consumers”?
2. Wind, waves and sun
Which renewable energy holds the greatest prospect in reducing emissions?
3. The nuclear option
Governments are striving to replace nuclear fission with cleaner alternatives, but should we be throwing money at fusion?
4. British racing green
While the UK pushes battery-powered cars with cash incentives our experts give their opinion on the future of fuel cells.
5. Burying the problem
With coal demand expected to soar by 2030 capturing and storing carbon emissions is as vital as ever.
6. Geoengineering
Could cloud whitening be the answer to mitigating climate change?
7. Efficiency deficiency
If UK homes were properly insulated carbon emissions would drop by 3.8 million tonnes. Can ageing British housing stock keep up with the green revolution?
8. Biofuels
Hailed as both climate saviour and food stock stealer biofuels are one of the most controversial technologies in the climate change battle.
9. The growing problem
Agriculture is the second largest source of UK greenhouse gases. How will cultivation evolve in order to meet climate targets?
10. Keeping our cool
In order to keep businesses running computers must be cooled. But that comes at a price for the economy and the environment.


  1. Daniel Collins

    Hodkinmj, if population dropped while per capita consumption climbed at an over-compensating rate, the same problem would arise. But I agree that population should be (and is for some) a consideration. The I-PAT equation illustrates this well: Impact = Population * Affluence(PerCapitaConsumption) * Technology(EnviroImpactPerUnitConsumption). The current US science adviser is actually part-credited with bringing this to the fore.

  2. hodkinmj

    I know how obvious this is but why-oh-why do all such discussions focus on the band-aid rather than the cure?
    It matters little what the average per-capita consumption is (of anything), or what the per-capita polution is. If the population growth exceeds the per-capita reductions then we will continue to move backwards.
    The driver for continual population growth is the economy. That artificial concept is the one thing that we are unwilling and/or unable to do anything about.
    A petrie dish of bacteria increases in population until the resources the colony needs are exhausted. It might seem reasonable to expect that with our slightly better developed powers of decision and reason that we could do better than the bacteria. It seems that this expectation is misguided.

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