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HOME  > Past issues  > 2019 October 9 - 15  > 2019 Nobel Prize in Chemistry awarded to technologies that will contribute to creation of low-carbon society
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2019 October 9 - 15 [SOCIAL ISSUES]

2019 Nobel Prize in Chemistry awarded to technologies that will contribute to creation of low-carbon society

October 12, 2019
Akahata editorial (excerpt)

The 2019 Nobel Prize in Chemistry was awarded to three scientists for their contribution to the development of lithium ion batteries. They are Yoshino Akira, an honorary fellow with the Asahi Kasei Corporation, Stanley Whittingham of the State University of New York, and John Goodenough of the University of Texas.

A lithium-ion (Li-ion) battery is a rechargeable battery. Li-ion batteries are compact, lightweight, with long-life and can be charged hundreds of times. Now, they are commonly used in mobile phones, smart phones, laptops, and other wireless electronic devices across the world. This technology is also used to power electric vehicles and store electricity generated by renewable energy sources, creating the conditions that make it possible to move toward a carbon-free world.

The achievement of the three scientists will help tackle the life-threatening challenge of confronting climate change throughout the world.

The development of lithium-ion batteries started five decades ago in a bid to create a fossil fuel-free world. At that time, the use of gasoline cars was rapidly increasing in the world and therefore the severe pollution issue became a major social problem. This gave rise to the need for developing electric vehicles and alternative energy sources.

In order to combat global warming, green technologies alone are not enough. There must be government policies to make full use of emerging technologies.

If the world’s governments are reluctant to increase their GHG reduction targets and to depart from reliance on coal-fueled thermal power generation, they cannot fully exploit the potential of scientific achievements that pave a way for a carbon-free society.

The governments of Japan and other countries should set a more ambitious reduction target, promote the use of renewable energy technologies, and take other necessary measures to fight against climate change.

Past related article:
> Nobel Prize winner Osumi warns against policy of seeking short-term results [October 17, 2016]
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