New Technology Could Help Avoid Climate Disaster, Scientist Tells Senate

November 1, 2023 by Tom Ramstack
New Technology Could Help Avoid Climate Disaster, Scientist Tells Senate
Sen. Tom Carper, D-Del.

WASHINGTON — An energy science expert told a Senate panel Wednesday that emerging technologies could lead the world out of a climate change disaster that might be unavoidable otherwise.

“There are solutions,” said Paul M. Dabbar, a Columbia University research scholar. “You have these problems but there are solutions.”

His prediction for better environmental technologies described a future brighter than some government forecasts of scorching heat waves, fierce hurricanes and drought bringing economic catastrophe.

Promising technologies he mentioned included iron-air batteries being developed by a West Virginia company that last 25 times longer than current lithium-ion batteries used in electric cars and cost 80% less.

He said nuclear energy company X-energy is developing simple, safe nuclear reactors to replace the large, dangerous and expensive ones used now. In addition, a Montana company has developed a heating and cooling system that uses 75% less energy and produces fewer emissions than commonly used compressor systems, he said.

“American innovation has and will continue to lead the way toward solutions,” Dabbar said.

He suggested the federal government adopt more policies designed to encourage environmental technology improvements.

His suggestion adds to several environmental bills pending in Congress. They propose incentives for transitioning to electric vehicles, expanding use of nuclear energy and divesting from carbon-emitting energy sources.

Dabbar’s ideas for using innovation to confront climate change were joined by Sen. Tom Carper, D-Del., chairman of the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee.

“Climate change is driving the extreme weather and we are not helpless,” he said.

He also acknowledged that although there are optimistic scenarios, they can only be achieved with great effort.

“We have a lot more work to do ahead of us,” Carper said.

Other witnesses and lawmakers at the hearing talked about how bad climate problems are getting, such as Sen. Mark Kelly, D-Ariz., who spoke about last summer’s heat wave that set a record for his state.

Phoenix saw temperatures of 110 degrees or hotter every day from June 30 to July 30.

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