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3 ways to tackle climate change through energy innovation

Daily Ticker

In the past month, the United Nations and the Obama administration have both released reports warning about the acceleration of climate change. And on Monday, another group of scientists reported that large parts of the ice sheet in West Antarctica are melting and nothing can be done to stop it. The conclusion? We need to reduce greenhouse gases as soon as possible to combat the costs -- environmental, economic and otherwise -- of climate change.

Related: Keystone pipeline would be good for the environment: Former BP CEO

Robert Bryce, however, argues that climate change doomsayers are wrong. He argues that innovation will solve our energy and environmental dilemmas.

Bryce, author of Smaller Faster Lighter Denser Cheaper and a senior fellow at the Manhattan Institute, tells us in the accompanying video, "Innovation has been saving us for centuries."

Of climate change, he says, "There's no question it's a big challenge, but when you look at how we're using energy today ... we're using it far more efficiently." The U.S. is leading the world in reducing emissions of CO2 largely because of natural gas production, he notes.

Related: Why the free market has to be part of the climate change solution: Macke

Bryce is also pro-nuclear "because that's a solution as we go forward to reducing CO2 emissions." He is bullish on solar energy, which is getting smaller and cheaper, but says the problem with renewables more broadly is that they can't be scaled down -- they take up too much land, for example.

Despite growth in solar, the increase in the use of coal globally to generate electricity has been bigger than all non-fossil fuel sources combined in the last decade, according to a new report from the International Energy Agency. Coal is considered the dirtiest energy source but coal has grown faster than any other form of energy; in the past decade, coal consumption has grown as much as oil, natural gas, nuclear and hydrocarbon combined, notes Bryce.

Related: Clean coal: "A terrible idea whose time has come," WIRED's Mann says

So what are the top 3 ways to combat climate change according to Bryce?

  1. Continuing innovation in the nuclear sector.
  2. Exporting technologies that allow other countries to produce natural gas, because half as much CO2 is produced in combustion, compared to coal.
  3. Use technologies that allow cleaner combustion of coal.

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