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Tapescript : Can 100% renewable energy power the world

Every year the world uses 35 billion barrels of oil. This massive scale of fossil fuel dependence
pollutes the Earth and it won’t last forever. Scientists estimate that we’ve consumed about 40% of
the world’s oil. According to present estimates, at this rate, we’’ll run out of oil and gas in 50 years
or so, and in about a century for coal. On the flip side, we have abundant sun, water, and wind.
These are renewable energy sources., meaning that we won’t use them up over time. What if we
could exchange out fossil fuel dependence for an existence based solely on renewables? We’ve
pondered that question for decades, and yet, renewable energy still only provides about 13% of
our needs. That’s because reaching 100% requires renewable energy that’s inexpensive and
accessible. This represents a huge challenge, even if we ignore the politics involved and focus on
the science and engineering. We can better understand the problem by understanding how we use
energy. Global energy use us a diverse and complex system, and the different elements require their
own solutions. But for now, we’ll focus on two of the most familiar in everyday life: electricity and
liquid fuels. Electricity powers blast furnaces, elevators, computers, and all manner of things in
homes, businesses, and manufacturing. Meanwhile, liquid fuels play a crucial role in almost all forms
of transportation. Let’s consider the electrical portion first. The great news is that our technology is
already advanced enough to capture all that energy from renewables, and there’s an ample supply.
The sun continuously radiates about 173 quadrillion watts of solar energy at the Earth, which is
almost 10,000 times our present needs. It’s been estimated that a surface that spans several hundred
thousand kilometers would be needed to power humanity at our present usage levels. So why don’t
we build that? Because there are other hurdles in the way, like efficiency and energy transportation.
To maximize efficiency, solar plants must be located in areas with lots of sunshine year round, like
deserts. But those are far away densely populated regions where energy demand is high. There are
other forms of renewable energy we could draw from, such as hydroelectric, geothermal, and
biomasses, but they also have limits based on availability and location. In principle, a connected
electrical energy network with power lines crisscrossing the globe would enable us to transport
power from where it’s generated to where it’s needed. But building a system on this scale faces an
astronomical price tag. We could lower the cost by developing advanced technologies to capture
energy more efficiently. The infrastructure for transporting energy would also have to change
drastically. Present-day power lines lose about 6-8% of the energy they carry because wire material
dissipates energy through resistance. Longer power lines would mean more energy loss.
Superconductors could be one solution. Such materials can transport electricity without dissipation.
Unfortunately, they only work is cooled to low temperatures, which requires energy and defeats the
purpose. To benefit from that technology, we’d need to discover new superconducting materials
that operate at room temperature. And what about the all-important, oil-derived fuels? The scientific
challenge there is to store renewable energy in an easily transportable form. Recently, we’ve gotten
better at producing lithium ion batteries, which are lightweight and have high-energy density. But
even the best of these store about 2.5 megajoules per kilogram. That’s about 20 times less than the
energy in one kilogram of gasoline. To be truly competitive, car batteries would have to store much
more energy without adding cost. The challenges only increase for bigger vessels, like ships and
planes. To power a cross-Atlantic flight for a jet, we’d need a battery weighing about 1,000 tons.
This, too, demands a technological leap towards new materials, higher energy density, and better
storage. One promising solution would be to find efficient ways to convert solar into chemical
energy. This is already happening in labs, but the efficiency is still too low to allow it to reach the
market. To find novel solutions, we’ll need lots of creativity, innovation and powerful incentives. The
transition towards all-renewable energies is a complex problem involving technology, economics,
and politics. Priorities on how to tackle this challenge depend on the specific assumptions we have
to make when trying to solve such a multifaceted problem. But there’s ample reason to be optimistic
that we’ll get there. Top scientific minds around the world are working on these problems and
making breakthroughs all the time. And many governments and businesses are investing in
technologies that harness the 둑효 all around us.

CAN WILDLIFE ADAPT TO CLIMATE CHANGE

Rising temperatures and seas, massive droughts, changing landscapes. Successfully adapting to
climate change is growing increasingly important. For humans, this means using our technological
advancement to find solutions like smarter cities and better water management. But for some plants
and animals, adapting to these global changes involves the most ancient solution of all: evolution.
Evolutionary adaptation usually occurs along time scales of thousands of years. But in cae4s where
species are under especially strong selective e conditions, like those caused by rapidly changing
climates, adaptive evolution can happen more quickly. In recent decades, we’ve seen many plant,
animals and insects relocating themselves and undergoing changes to their body sizes and the
dates, they flower or breed. But many of these are plastic or nonheritable changes to an individual’s
physical traits. And there are limits to how much an organism can change is physiological to meet
environmental requirements. That’s why scientists are seeking examples of evolutionary changes
coded in species’ DNA that are heritable, long-lasting and may provide a key to their future. Take
the tawny owl. If you were walking through a wintry forest in northern Europe 30 years ago, chances
are you’d have heard rather than seen this elusive bird. Against the snowy backdrop its plumage
would have been neat impossible to spot. Today, the landscape is vastly different. Since the 1980s,
climate change has led to significant less snowfall but you’d still struggle to spot a tawny owl
because nowadays, they’re brown. The brown color variant is the genetically dominant form of
plumage in this species, but historically, the recessive pale gray variant triumphed because of its
selective advantage in helping these predators blend in. however, less snow cover reduces the
opportunities for camouflage, so lately, this color variant has been losing the battle against natural
selection. The offspring of the brown color morphs, on the other hand, have an advantage in
exposed forests, so brown tawny owls are flourishing today. Several other species have undergone
similar climate-change-adaptive genetic changes in recent decades. Pitcher plant mosquitoes have
rapidly evolved to take advantage of the warmer temperatures, entering dormancy later and later
in the year. Two spot ladybug populations once comprised of equal number of melanic and non-
melanic morphs have now shifted almost entirely to the non-melanic color combination. Scientists
think that keeps them from overheating. Meanwhile, pink

Salmon have adapted to warmer waters by spawning earlier in the season to protect their sensitive
eggs. And wild thyme plants in Europe are producing more repellent oils to protect themselves
against the herbivores that become more common when it’s warm. These plant and animal belong
to a group of about 20 identified species with evolutionary adaptations to rapid climate change,
including snapping turtles, wood frogs, knotweed, and silver spotted skipper butterflies. However,
scientists hope to discover more species evolving in response to climate change out of 8.7 million
species on the planet. For most of our planet’s astounding and precious biodiversity, evolution won’t
be the answer. Instead, many of those species will have to rely on us to help them survive a changing
a changing world of face extinction. The good news is we also have the tools across the planet,
we’re making on-the-ground decisions that will help entire ecosystems adapt. Critical climate
refuges are being identified and set aside, and projects are underway to help mobile species move
to more suitable climates. Existing parks and protected areas are also doing climate change check-
ups to help their wildlife cope. Fortunately, it’s still within our power to preserve much of the
wondrous biodiversity of this planet which, after all, sustains us in so many ways.

Do we really need pesticides

In 1845, Ireland’s vast potato fields were struck by an invasive fungal disease that rapidly infested
this staple crop. The effect was devastating. One million people died of famine and over a million
more were forced to leave Ireland. Nowadays, we avoid such agricultural catastrophes with the help
of pesticides. Those are a range of man-made chemicals that control insects, unwanted weeds,
funguses, rodents and bacteria that may threaten our food supply. They’ve become the central part
of our food system. As populations have grown, monoculture, single crop farming has helped us
feed people efficiently. But it’s also left our food vulnerable to extensive attack by pests. In turn,
we’ve become more dependent on pesticides. Today, we annually shower over 5 billion pounds of
pesticides across the Earth to control these unwanted visitors. The battle against pests, especially
insects has marked agriculture long history. Records from thousands of years ago suggest that
humans actively burned some of their crops after harvest to rid them of pests. There’s even evidence
from ancient times that we recruited other insects to help. In 300 A.D., Chines farmers specially bred
ferocious predatory ants in orange orchards to protect the tress form other bugs. Later, as large-
scale farming spread, we began sprinkling arsenic, lead, and copper treatments on crops. But these
were incredibly toxic to humans as well. As our demand for more, safer produce increased, so sis
the need for effective chemicals that could control pests on a grander scale. This ushered in the era
of chemical pesticides. In 1948, a Swiss chemist named Paul Hermann Muller was awarded a Nobel
Prize for his discovery of dichlorodiphenyltrichloroethane, also known as DDT. This new molecule
had unparalleled power to control many insects species until the 1950s when insects became
resistant to it. Worse the chemical actually drove dramatic declines in bird populations, poisoned
water sources and was eventually found to cause long-term health problems in humans. By 1972,
DDT had been banned in the United States and yet traces still linger in the environment today. Since
then, chemists have been searching for alternatives. With each new wave of inventions, they’ve
encountered the same obstacle- rapid species evolution. As pesticides destroy pest populations,
they leave behind only the most resistant individuals. They then pass on their pesticide-resisting
genes to the next generation. That’s lead to the rise of super bugs, such as the Colorado potato
beetle, which is resistant to over 50 different insecticides. Another downside is that other bugs get
caught in the crossfire. Some of these are helpful predators of plant pests or vital pollinators, so
erasing them from agriculture wipes out their benefits, too. Pesticides have improve over time and
are currently regulated by strict safety standards but they still have the potential to pollute soil and
water, impact wildlife, and even harm us. So considering all these risks w, why do we continue using
pesticides? Although they’re imperfect, they currently may be our best bet against major agricultural
disasters not to mention the mosquito-born diseases. Today, scientists are on a quests for alternative
pest control strategies that balance the demands of food production with environmental concerns.
Nature has become a major source of inspiration form natural plant and fungal chemicals that can
repel or attract insects, to recruiting other insects as crop bodyguards. We’re also turning to high-
tech solutions, like drones. Programmed to fly over crops, these machines can use their sensors and
GPS to carry out more targeted sprays that limit a pesticide’s wider environmental impact. With a
combination of biological understanding, environmental awareness and improved technologies, we
have a better chance of finding a holistic solution to pests. Chemical pesticides may never shake
their controversial reputation, but with their help, we can ensure that agriculture catastrophes stay
firmly in our past.

Evolution is a big city