How can emissions be reduced despite increasing traffic? How is industrialized agriculture getting greener? Is it possible to eliminate the exhaust gases of motorized two-wheeled vehicles? And what exciting clean air initiatives are being developed worldwide, from Nepal to Sweden, from Beijing to San Francisco? All of this and more in the new Continental magazine.
Here is an excerpt from issue 4.
Clean Air to Breathe.
How we can reduce emissions despite increasing volumes of traffic – many technology solutions are already available.
What actually makes up air? Although the generally acknowledged composition is not a natural constant, the main elements have remained largely stable for 350 million years: 78 percent nitrogen, 21 percent oxygen, plus a little argon, carbon dioxide and a few other gases. That is the way it should stay. Every effort is therefore required to continue reducing the rates of CO2, nitrogen dioxide and other emissions such as fine particles. There are plenty of promising innovations around.
Traffic on the rise
When the first cars rumbled along the roads toward the end of the 19th century, individual mobility was an exclusive commodity reserved for a few affluent people about town. Only with the release of automotive milestones rolling off assembly lines in the shape of Ford’s Tin Lizzie, the Citroën 2CV or the VW Beetle was it opened up to the broader population. The more people who could afford a car, the busier the roads became. Meanwhile, with increasing wealth, the vehicles themselves also grew, leading to more powerful engines, greater displacements, rising fuel consumption and, consequently, ever more emissions – all of which were given next to no consideration for many decades.
Emissions are falling – but not enough
Environmental awareness and the need for environmental protection began to grow only when fuel prices rose as a result of the oil crisis in the early 1970s and as the air became increasingly polluted, leading to driving restrictions in many cities. Even back then, technological innovations helped improve the situation considerably, with industrial production sites being equipped with better filter systems and the catalytic converter becoming mandatory for new vehicles in Germany in 1984, for example. As a result, air quality in Germany improved to such an extent that all federal states repealed their smog regulations in the 1990s. Yet did that solve the problem? By no means. After all, polluted air is a formidable problem in urban areas worldwide, and one that endangers the health of millions of people. So how can we counteract rising vehicle numbers with falling emissions? One thing is clear: New and, above all, practicable solutions are needed.
We report on the people at the center of technological developments and the resulting new opportunities. Which innovations do experts rely on? What do engineers do in the labs and test stations? How is the world of work changing? Which trends will shape the society of tomorrow? Discover exciting articles and interviews, multi-media contributions from around the world, competitions and surprising information from behind the scenes.
To begin with, the Continental Magazine will be published twice a year.