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The Manchester Report: 20 Ideas for Solving the Climate Crisis

The solutions picked by the Guardian and Manchester International Festival's expert panel as the most promising for tackling global warming

The Guardian and Manchester International Festival assembled an expert panel to sift through ideas for tackling climate change from all over the world. Below are the top 20 and you can vote on the what you think is the best of the top ten here. The results will be presented to policy-makers as The Manchester Report.

The panel was chaired by Lord Bingham, Lord Chief Justice of England and Wales, the most senior judge, until 2008. It was made up of Dan Reicher, director of climate change and energy at Google.org; Bryony Worthinton, director of Sandbag.org; Chris Goodall, editor of carboncommentary.com; and Prof Hans Joachim Schellnhuber, founding director of the Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research.

The panel's top ten

Concentrated solar power
Gerry Wolff explains how concentrating solar power in deserts could supply enough electricity to power the whole of Europe.

Thorium nuclear power
Switching from uranium to thorium as our primarily nuclear fuel could lead to cheaper, safer and more sustainable nuclear power.

Carbon capture plants part-fired with wood
If affordable carbon capture and storage technologies can be developed, the prospect is there for "carbon negative" power plants that burn a mix of coal and wood.

Ceramic fuel cells
Domestic fuels cells are super-efficient mini power stations that can efficiently and cheaply provide electricity and hot water.

Sequestering carbon and boosting crops with biochar
Turning crop wastes and other biomass into charcoal and spreading it on tropical soils can sequester carbon and boost crop productivity.

Marine energy
Marine turbines are like underwater windmills than can extract energy from fast-flowing tides or deep ocean currents.

Regenerating grasslands
Grazing cattle in a way that imitates the movements of wild herds could lock huge quantities of CO2 into the world's dry soils.

Efficient cooking stoves
Simple and inexpensive biomass cooking stoves can slash emissions, save forests and avoid lung disease.

Universal family planning access
Global investment in family planning and female education could slow down global population growth, reducing future emissions and tackling climate change vulnerability.

Enhanced geothermal power
Enhanced geothermal systems, or 'hot rocks', can be exploited in a larger number of locations and operate 24 hours a day.

The 10 runners up

Energy bonds
Backed by the government, 'energy bonds' would allow individuals and institutional investors to finance a renewable energy revolution.

Carbon conversations
Knowledge and awareness of climate change isn't enough to influence low-carbon lifestyle changes; people need to be engaged on a emotional level.

Giant algae 'stomachs'
Giant plastic 'stomachs' in the sea could be used to digest seaweed farmed at the ocean surface, converting it into CO2 for burial and methane for cooking and heating.

Methanol and artificial photosynthesis
Carbon dioxide generated by power stations can be converted into methanol and used to generate electricity or fuel cars.

Adding lime to the oceans
Putting lime into the oceans has the potential to decrease ocean acidity and reduce atmospheric CO2 levels.

Leasing low-emission cars
Schemes for leasing super-lightweight low-carbon cars could help slash the emissions of the transport sector.

Solar PV and feed-in tariffs
Solar photovoltaic energy reduces emissions both directly and indirectly – and it can make an ideal long-term investment vehicle, according to its advocates.

New indicators for human development
Rethinking economics to reduce consumption and emissions and boost life satisfaction.

Cloud-making ships
Ships that spray minute water droplets into the sky could increase cloud cover and reflect sunlight away from the earth.


This piece originally appeared in The Guardian

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Comments

What a great list. I particularly like the 'Ceramic Fuel Cells' proposal, which I have followed in Australia for some time. Research and long term tests point to huge savings in terms of energy, water, utility costs and Tax payer dollars/pounds. With production scheduled for late 2009-2010 and geared for domestic installation initially, this seems to be not only conceivable but ready to roll.

Harnessing the ocean, wind and solar forces long with the biotech ideas promoted all seem brilliant. I also like the appeal of 'Energy Bonds', which would set all manner of wheels turning as Carbon Trading and Carbon Tariffs evolve throughout the world.

Congrats to all and Kind Regards, Eric and Susan Poulter


Posted by: Eric Poulter on 15 Jul 09

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