Fix the Planet newsletter: 11 climate solutions to watch in 2022

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From vigor pumps to electrical cars, outer launches to floating upwind turbines, we absorption our attraction connected 11 clime solutions to ticker successful 2022

Environment 7 January 2022

By Adam Vaughan

New Scientist Default Image

Tugboats propulsion a gigantic floating upwind turbine successful Sumoto, Hyogo, Japan

The Asahi Shimbun via Getty Images

Happy caller year, and invited to this week’s Fix the Planet, the play clime alteration newsletter that reminds you determination are reasons for anticipation successful subject and exertion astir the world. To person this free, monthly newsletter successful your inbox, sign up here.

I’ve been looking to spot however my predictions for 2021 fared. Betting connected a beardown twelvemonth for hydrogen and the removal of c dioxide from the ambiance turned retired to beryllium bully ideas, portion my anticipation for greenish economical recoveries transpired to beryllium wishful thinking.

Today I’m turning my oculus to 2022. Delivering connected the promises made successful the Glasgow Climate Pact agreed past November volition beryllium a large challenge, portion 2 large set-piece clime subject reports volition predominate February and March. But galore of the trends we’ll spot this twelvemonth volition beryllium owed to economics, technology, subject and, of course, politics. Climate alteration whitethorn diagnostic successful respective cardinal predetermination battles, from nationalist votes successful Australia, France and Brazil to the US midterms.

Below is my database of what to watch.

Impacts and solutions

Next period sees part two of the Intergovernmental Panel connected Climate Change’s existent circular of reports connected the authorities of clime science. It volition mostly screen the impacts of clime change, specified arsenic heatwaves, fires and flooding, and however we tin accommodate to them. As demonstrated by the 19.4°C vigor successful Alaska astatine the extremity of December and the UK’s 16.2°C connected New Year’s Day – some records for those dates  – each twelvemonth present brings a deluge of extremes and records. And that’s with conscionable 1.1°C of planetary warming to date. So expect the IPCC study to marque waves with leaders who volition person to program for flood barriers, “cool spaces” to flight heat and truthful on. The IPCC besides has a crucial 3rd study owed successful March on mitigation, oregon however we tin chopped and region emissions capable to debar the worst ravages of clime change. If you missed portion 1 of these reports, read this.

Floating upwind turbines

Almost each offshore upwind farms are attached to the seabed, which is wherefore the shallow North Sea is the world’s hotspot for the technology. But floating turbines, which usage respective antithetic designs to enactment upright, unfastened up adjacent the deepest waters to the cleanable vigor source. One crushed floating upwind powerfulness makes my 2022 database is developers successful the UK are presently bidding to triumph astatine slightest £24 cardinal a twelvemonth successful subsidies to physique them aboriginal this decade. The 2nd is that different countries are connected the brink of exploiting the technology. Spain’s BlueFloat Energy recently announced 2 large projects for Australia, which would beryllium the country’s first. Meanwhile, Anglo-Dutch lipid elephantine Shell is moving up with floating upwind turbines successful South Korea.

Biodiversity and clime situation crossover

The great and good last twelvemonth were, rightly, astatine pains to punctual america that the solutions to a warming satellite and the degradation of quality overlap, from histrion planting and ungraded wellness to conserving taxon and restoring ecosystems. Most countries are inactive a agelong mode from acting connected that knowledge, but I’m hopeful a new planetary biodiversity woody owed successful May volition yeild progress (the current draft refers to much “nature-based solutions” by 2030 to mitigate clime change).

Whither nuclear?

A enactment implicit the Christmas season about the European Commission deeming atomic powerfulness acceptable for “sustainable finance” was a bully reminder that the satellite is inactive divided on what relation atomic should play successful the clime fight . With retirements of aged atomic plants successful the UKGermany  and elsewhere scheduled for this year, atomic proponents volition beryllium pushing for new generation. Rolls Royce successful the UK is mounting retired connected its 4 to five-year travel to triumph regulatory support for its mini atomic plants. EDF Energy volition beryllium hoping to unafraid a concern exemplary from the UK authorities to physique a 2nd caller ample works successful the UK, astatine Sizewell successful Suffolk. And a determination connected a site for the world’s archetypal atomic fusion powerfulness plant is owed this twelvemonth too.

The Glasgow Climate Pact promises

A lot was promised astatine COP26 successful Glasgow past year. This year, eyes volition beryllium connected the pledge by governments to “revisit and strengthen” their nationalist clime plans earlier an end-of-year clime acme successful Egypt. New Zealand and Australia have already said they won’t present caller plans, though the second whitethorn person a caller authorities aboriginal this twelvemonth truthful ticker this space. Meanwhile, let’s spot if caller financially sweetened packages to wean countries disconnected ember emerge, like 1 struck betwixt precocious income countries and South Africa past year. Indonesia and India could beryllium next.

More eyes successful space

NASA is launching a clump of satellites this twelvemonth to amended show everything from tropical cyclones to water eddies (there are 4 missions successful total). Green groups are getting successful connected the enactment too: US non-profit Environmental Defense Fund is planning to enactment a outer into orbit from October to pinpoint methane plumes. Given countries astatine COP26 promised to trim methane leaks, specified monitoring volition beryllium vital.

Energy bills crisis

High wholesale state prices mean rising vigor bills volition proceed to beryllium a large governmental contented successful galore countries. In the UK, the situation volition travel to a caput successful February erstwhile an summation successful a regulated terms headdress is announced, taking effect successful April. It volition apt rise emblematic yearly household vigor bills by respective 100 pounds, partially due to the fact that of however costly state is and partially to recoup the costs of truthful galore suppliers collapsing . The large question is whether renewables and greenish options look arsenic the solution to avoiding repeats of the crisis, oregon arsenic an unfair scapegoat for the mess.

Greener level substance starts to instrumentality off?

The accumulation and depletion of sustainable aviation substance (SAF), oregon biofuel arsenic astir of america cognize it, is pitiful today. About 0.1 per cent of each substance burned for flights globally uses SAF. That is improbable to summation capable this twelvemonth to enactment the hose manufacture connected way for its people of 5 per cent by 2025, but caller policies from the EU and UK should nonstop a awesome for firms to put in new accumulation plants, similar this 1 projected successful the UK.

Pump it up

Regular readers volition cognize I similar to bang connected astir vigor pumps, but there’s small motion of this low-carbon heating exertion going away. Expect to perceive tons much astir pumps successful coming months, arsenic manufacturers enactment connected ways to marque them mimic the “instant-on” quality of state boilers and vigor companies effort to bring down their installation costs. And successful England and Wales, watch retired for grants of up to £5000 from April to bargain one.

The $555 cardinal question

Will US president Joe Biden’s Build Back Better program ever happen? Senator Joe Manchin has repeatedly astir derailed the full plan, which includes hundreds of billions of dollars for cleanable vigor investment. Talks betwixt Biden’s medication and Manchin are reportedly backmost on. Delivering the program volition beryllium important for the US’s credibility for clime enactment connected the planetary stage.

Electric cars accelerate

The UK car manufacture assemblage thinks that 260,000 electrical cars volition beryllium sold successful the state this year, up on 190,000 sold past year. I fishy the 2022 forecast volition beryllium wildly beaten ( some analysts are already saying 300,000). That’s mostly due to the fact that of the sheer measurement of caller models launching this year, including from the 2 biggest car makers, VW and Toyota. Rising lipid prices arsenic economies motion disconnected the pandemic volition marque electrical alternatives look much charismatic too. As always, the maturation volition beryllium uneven globally, and you tin expect Norway to eclipse its incredible 65 per cent electrical stock of caller car income past year while the UK tries to amended connected its 10 per cent.


  • Yet much vigor pump-related news. Swedish vigor steadfast Vattenfall has started selling precocious somesthesia versions of the devices successful the Netherlands which could antagonistic 1 of the criticisms of the technology, that it works astatine little temperatures than the state boilers it’s replacing, which sometimes requires costly upgrades to radiators.
  • I’ve written earlier about the imaginable of lithium mining successful Cornwall, truthful was pleased to perceive the institution moving connected the thought has successfully extracted lithium. Whether it’ll marque economical consciousness is different matter. More here.
  • It’s not going to prevention the world, but it’s a measurement successful the close direction: Samsung has designed a TV distant control that doesn’t request batteries and draws powerfulness from wi-fi routers. A tiny summation to the agelong database of reasons to decarbonise energy grids.
  • There’s a beauteous diagnostic astir peatland restoration successful New Scientist. Go work it now.

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