"Rapid economic growth and climate change mitigation cannot go together as long as we stick to current technologies," Jeffrey D. Sachs, director of the Earth Institute told delegates at the valedictory session of the Delhi Sustainable Development Summit.
"But there are a host of technologies that are close (to breakthroughs), such as carbon capture and sequestration (CCS)." This technology captures carbon dioxide - the main greenhouse gas that is leading to global warming - emitted by thermal power plants and sequesters it underground.
"It is possible to have your coal and climate too," Sachs said. "It is the only way to avoid end of civilization, continue economic development and high living standards."
The noted academic listed other new technologies that would be essential to tackle climate change.
"High-mileage automobiles and hybrid cars that run on a combination of electricity and petrol are about five years away.
"Buildings need to move to electricity-based heating once power generation is cleaned up.
"Then you need nuclear power. It will have to be part of the green solution. But you will have to ensure safety.
"And then you have concentrated solar power."
Sachs said policy makers must focus on these technological changes right now, rather than on economic measures to reduce carbon dioxide emissions into the atmosphere. "These changes require upfront public R and D funding, especially for demonstration projects, plus a supportive regulatory environment.
"Scientists and business leaders have to work together to monitor which new technologies are working. After all this, you can have realistic carbon pricing to help the new technologies along."
Source: China view