EcoGeek: What new technologies do you think have the potential for the greatest positive impact on the environment?
Karl Schroeder: I like to play a little game called 'if I had a billion dollars' (with a nod to the Barenaked Ladies' song). If I did, I'd drop $200 million on Bussard (I'm sure he'd enjoy that); $200 million on kickstarting a vertical farming industry, the same on ocean iron-fertilization studies, another chunk on developing an agrichar infrastructure, and the rest on various projects that can't get funding because they have a low probability of success, but massive payoff if they do work. --Which is precisely where our investment should be flowing right now, because we don't have time for incremental development to solve the climate crisis. We need miracles, and those don't come from slow, safe R&D projects...
Here is some news about Dr. B. plus some very good news:
Bussard Fusion Reactor http://powerandcontrol.blogspot.com/2007/03/mr-fusion.html
Easy Low Cost No Radiation Fusion http://powerandcontrol.blogspot.com/2006/11/easy-low-cost-no-radiation-fusion.html
Bussard Reactor Funded http://powerandcontrol.blogspot.com/2007/08/bussard-reactor-funded.html
If you had a billion dollars and wanted to really spend it well...and I mean, not blow it on things that are longshots and boondoggles, but things that are a guaranteed solution to global warming...then simply put all billion dollars into advanced, mass-produced, low-cost nuclear reactors. A good advanced nuclear reactor is very close to as clean as a fusion reactor and unlike fusion, that is technology we have *right now* that already works. There is essentially an infinite supply of uranium and thorium (both good nuclear fuels) and the waste problem has been solved by disposal in deep granite formations.
Essentially, nuclear power *is* the solution that everybody is looking for. It's just a question of how long it takes for the world to recognize it and get on with the job.