There is growing scientific evidence that the continued emission of greenhouse gases will eventually lead to catastrophic irreversible climate change and that, therefore, a global effort needs to be started to transition to a fully renewable economy. In this article, the engineering challenges of converting to emission-free power generation are reviewed and the feasibility of two proposed solutions, i.e. the ‘wind–water–solar’ and the ‘energy ship’ proposals, are discussed. It is concluded that a well-conceived and executed engineering effort needs to be initiated and guided by a Global Engineering Council for the purpose of examining and ranking various proposals and making specific recommendations.
climate change, climate mitigation, emission-free power generation, renewable energy, wind power
 Broecker, W.S., Climate change: are we on the brink of pronounced global warming? Science, 189(4201), pp. 460–463, 1975. doi: http://dx.doi.org/10.1126/ science.189.4201.460
 Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), Fifth Assessment Report, IPCC, 2014.
 Hansen, J., Kharecha, P., Sato, M., Masson-Delmotte, V., Ackerman, F., Beerling, D.J., Hearty, P.J., Hoegh-Guldberg, O., Hsu, S.L., Parmesan, C., Rockstrom, J., Rohling, E.J., Sachs, J. & Zachos, J.C., Assessing dangerous climate change: required reduction of carbon emissions to protect young people, future generations and nature. PLoS One, 8(12), e81648. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0081648
 MacKay, D.J.C., Sustainable Energy – Without the Hot Air, UIT Cambridge Ltd: Cambridge, England, 2009.
 Hansen, J., Storms of My Grandchidren, Bloomsbury: New York, 2009.
 Inslee, J. & Hendricks, B., Apollo’s Fire, Igniting America’s Clean Energy Economy, Island Press: Washington, DC, 2008.
 Jacobson, M.Z. & Delucchi, M.A., A path to sustainable energy by 2030. Scientific American, 301(5), pp. 58–65, 2009. doi: http://dx.doi.org/10.1038/scientific- american1109-58
 Platzer, M.F. & Sarigul-Klijn, N., A novel approach to extract power from free-flowing water and high-altitude jet streams, ASME Energy Sustainability Conference, San Francisco, CA, 2009. doi: http://dx.doi.org/10.1115/es2009-90146
 Kim, J. & Park, C., Wind power generation with a parawing on ships, a proposal. Journal of Energy, 35(3), pp. 1425–1432, 2010. doi: http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j. energy.2009.11.027
 Platzer, M.F. & Sarigul-Klijn, N., Aerohydronautical Power Engineering – Is It the Key to Abundant Renewable Energy and Potable Water? University Readers: San Diego, CA, 2012.
 Platzer, M.F., Lennie, M. & Vogt, D.M., Analysis of the conversion of ocean wind power into hydrogen. Proc. World Renewable Energy Congress, Perth, Australia, July 2013.
 Platzer, M.F., Sarigul-Klijn, N., Young, J., Ashraf, M.A. & Lai, J.C.S., Renewable hydrogen production using sailing ships. Journal of Energy Resources Technology, 136(2), pp. 021203-1 to 5, 2014.
 Holl, M., Platzer, M.F. & Pelz, P., Optimal energy systems design applied to an innova- tive ocean-wind energy converter. WIT Transactions on Ecology and the Environment, 193, 2015.
 Kim, J. & Park, C., Economy of hydrogen production by parafoil-pulled ships. Journal of Energy and Power Sources, 1(1), pp. 9–16, 2014.
 Watson, S. & Frank, A., A fifteen year roadmap toward complete energy sustainability. UC Davis Institute of Transportation Studies Research Report UCD-ITS-RR-12-35, January 2012.
 Platzer, M.F., Is there an engineering approach to transition to a sustainable hydrogen economy? WIT Transactions on Ecology and the Environment, 193, 2015.
 Koningstein, R. & Fork, D., What it would really take to reverse climate change. IEEE Spectrum, Posted 18 November 2014.
 Diamond, J., Collapse, Penguin Books, 2005.
 A Climate Risk Assessment for the United States, Risky Business, June 2014.