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How technology plans to save the planet

Reality check: Energy scavenging is unlikely to become mainstream - although it's useful in cars, with energy from braking helping to recharge batteries.

7. Make fuel cells happen

We've been hearing about fuel cell-powered laptops for years, but they're finally on the horizon. Maybe. Polyfuel has built a prototype Lenovo laptop that runs on methanol cartridges, and promises that such technology will be in everyday laptops within a few years.

What about cars? In August, fuel cell-powered cars carried out a road trip to 30 US cities to demonstrate that hydrogen is the "fuel of the future", but we're still a few years away from having hydrogen-powered cars in our driveways. Mercedes-Benz says it'll be 2014 or 2015 before "economically competitive" fuel-cell cars will be in volume production.

Reality check: Greenpeace says that "without a revolution in the way we generate energy, hydrogen powered cars will not be a solution."

8. Suck the CO2 from the sky

If CO2 causes climate change, why not suck it out of the atmosphere? A team of US scientists reckon they'll have a prototype CO2 extractor within two years, with each machine sucking the equivalent of a London to New York flight out of the atmosphere in a single day.

Reality check: Kert Davies, energy expert with Greenpeace USA, has warned that "removing greenhouse gases so readily will not encourage people to develop alternate, renewable technologies... it's like having cancer and putting a Band-Aid on it."

9. Make virtual reality work

Virtual reality is the greenest way to travel, and It isn't hard to imagine a VR version of Google Earth for tourism that delivers all the benefits of real tourism without irritations such as travelling, other tourists or, you know, killing the planet. However, if we're not willing to embrace virtual travel - and all the signs suggest we aren't - then perhaps Airbus and its partners need to put more energy into the Clean Sky programme for greener planes.

Reality check: Greener planes aren't enough: we need to cut down on air travel full stop. In a report for Friends of the Earth, the University of Manchester's Tyndall Centre says that in addition to lower-carbon aircraft we need "a radical and immediate programme of demand management" - that is, fewer flights. Maybe we need VR after all.

10. Hack the planet

It sounds like the stuff of science fiction, but Geoengineering - using technology to change the planet - is being taken seriously, with suggestions including thousands of orbiting mirrors or high-altitude balloons to reflect solar energy; seeding the atmosphere with particles - dropped from aircraft or fired from giant cannons - to mimic the effect of a volcanic explosion, cooling down the entire planet; or using laser beams to break up unwanted chemicals in the atmosphere.

Reality check: Will it work? Nobody's entirely sure, and some observers describe the proposals as "madness".

So will technology save the planet? We asked Greenpeace UK, who told us: "Technology will be absolutely key to winning the climate change fight, but the tools we need are available right now. Years of neglect have left our renewable energy capacity languishing right at the bottom of the European league table, and our politicians still seem to lack the urgency needed to tackle this problem."

According to Greenpeace, big ideas are great - but there's stuff we can do in the short term, too. "Projects like an interconnected renewable energy grid which spans the whole of Europe are vital, but in the short term we must ensure that this Government doesn't lock us into decades of carbon pollution by giving approval for outdated projects like a new coal fired power station proposed for Kingsnorth in Kent."

"We have some of the finest engineers in the world, the best renewable energy resources in Europe and a British economy crying out for more green collar jobs. What we need now is real political courage to bring about a new industrial revolution in clean energy."