- Use existing technologies and better carbon-management practices to cut CO2 releases. Scientific American magazine calls this Plan A.
- Generate energy through new technologies that bring emissions down to zero -- Plan B.
Some of the technologies the story mentions have advanced somewhat, while other new ones have emerged. It's an interesting analysis of what's out there. I found myself generally agreeing with the author's predictions.
The 8 energy sources are:
- Nuclear fusion. Considerable progress has been made in this field since the Scientific American story ran.
- High-altitude wind. Some serious winds blow at 33,000 feet, where, at certain latitudes, they pack 5,000 to 10,000 watts of power per square meter.
- Sci-fi solutions, such as cold fusion, bubble fusion, and matter-antimatter reactions. Unrealistic, says the story's author.
- Space-based solar power. In space, the sun never sets.
- Nanotech solar cells. Because it's going to be a long time before silicon-based solar cells can compete with grid power on price.
- A global supergrid. A worldwide network of supercooled, superconducting wires. Not so much a source of energy as a means of efficiently distributing it.
- Waves and tides. These sources are already being tapped in several places around the world. A proposed project in the UK's Severn River will be the world's largest.
- Designer microbes. Bespoke cells that could, for example, convert cellulose to fuel, or turn the carbon dioxide from a smokestack into natural gas.