Washington: Switching over to low carbon-emitting technologies, which includes wind, solar and hydroelectric power, may not cut global warming until the latter part of this century.
Technologies that offer only modest reductions in greenhouse gases, such as the use of natural gas and perhaps carbon capture and storage, cannot substantially reduce climate risk in the next 100 years, says a new research.
The study claims that the rapid deployment of low-greenhouse-gas-emitting technologies (LGEs) will initially increase emissions as they will require a large amount of energy to construct and install, the journal Environmental Research Letters reports.
These cumulative emissions will remain in the atmosphere for extended periods due to the long lifetime of carbon dioxide (CO2), meaning that global surface temperatures will increase to a greater level than if we continued to use coal-fired plants.
Researchers from Intellectual Ventures and the Carnegie Institution, Stanford, arrived at these conclusions through a set of simple mathematical models, according to Carnegie statement.
Delaying the rollout of the technologies is not an option however; the risks of environmental harm will be much greater in the second half of the century and beyond if we continue to rely on coal-based technologies, according to researchers.
Coal-based power plants were used as the basis for comparison because they generate the most greenhouse gases per unit of electricity produced - replacing plants of this kind will have the great benefits on the climate.
"Achieving substantial reductions in temperatures relative to the coal-based system will take the better part of a century, and will depend on rapid and massive deployment of some mix of conservation, wind, solar, and nuclear, and possibly carbon capture and storage," the researchers concluded.
First Published: Thursday, February 16, 2012, 17:03