• Why Does the Shell Boss Think that Technology is the Key to Tackling Climate Change?

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Why Does the Shell Boss Think that Technology is the Key to Tackling Climate Change?

Dec 15 2015

It might seem unlikely that the chief executive of one of the world’s largest fossil fuel mining firms would give a ringing endorsement to one of its primary rivals  in terms of energy generation – but that’s exactly what Shell boss Ben van Beurden has done.

Speaking earlier this month, van Beurden claimed that technological innovation was the way forward in circumventing the problems of climate change, just a few months after asserting that solar power will provide the backbone of our global energy supply in the future.

The Future is Bright – the Future is Solar

While van Beurden predictably defended the popularity of fossil fuels as an energy source for the foreseeable future, he stated his belief in an interview with BBC Radio 4 that solar energy will ultimately usurp oil and gas as the main source of energy worldwide.

Speaking in September, van Beurden’s words seemed almost a direct response to the US Energy Information Administration (EIA)’s claim that although solar power popularity had cooled over the last few years, demand was expected to remain high.

“Future demand for solar photovoltaics will be affected by major countries' goals for installed solar capacity,” reported the EIA. “More than 50 countries have established national solar targets, amounting to more than 350GW by the year 2020. The current top six countries in terms of total installed solar capacity – Germany, Italy, Japan, Spain, France, and China – represented 76% of installed capacity in 2012, but only 61% of the global target total for 2020. Reaching 350GW by 2020 would require average annual instalments of 40GW from 2013 through 2020, which is equivalent to manufacturing production in 2013 and well within current PV manufacturing capability of 60GW per year.”

Other Technological Breakthroughs

Though the advances made in the solar industry have led to increased efficiency, a surplus of supply and falling prices, they are not the only breakthroughs being made in the environmental world. Indeed, van Beurden was speaking broadly of advancements in many fields as a multifaceted approach to tackling climate change.

For example, continued research into ever more innovative methods of treating waste has led to progress being made not only in curbing pollution but also expanding our resources. The dual problems of pollution and drought are being combated by one waste technology company, who are using the process of anaerobic digestion to metaphorically kill two birds with one stone.

For more instances of the development of technology being used in an environmental sphere, check out this article on the Meteorological Technology World Expo. As one of the largest conventions dedicated to weather forecasting and climate change control through technology, the expo is a great place for companies and individuals to showcase their forward-thinking solutions, trade ideas, expand their networks and garner support.


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