How can technology save us from global warming?
In this blog we look a little bit closer at the impact of tech on the environment: can technology save us from global warming?
Does technology help fight climate change?
Climate change has been an issue for many years. According to recent research and estimates, our beautiful planet could be two degrees warmer by 2100. While nobody knows how much irreversible damage has already been done, clearly now is the time to act.
Technology can’t work miracles, but it can help to lessen the impact climate change. If you do your bit to help by recycling, riding your bike, taking showers instead of baths etc, then you might be interested to know that there are a host of tech innovations that can help you to reduce your carbon footprint.
Luckily, there are a few technological innovations that may play a helping hand.
Tech that fights climate change:
Whether at home or in the office, light, power, heating, and cooling all contribute to the emission of greenhouse gases. The combined emissions from these contribute almost 20% of global emissions. While many of us make an effort to minimise the amount of lighting and heat we use, we cannot eliminate it entirely.
Could smart cities be the answer?
Sidewalk Labs thinks so! Harnessing digital technologies to solve today’s urban problems, they’re currently looking at how traffic flows through a city and solving hotspots of congestion, helping to reduce air pollution in our cities.
Transport represents 23% of global energy-related CO2 emissions. Unfortunately, as the population continues to grow, the demand for transport is only going to increase.
Environmentally friendly electric cars are becoming more popular. However, we need more efficient batteries and battery-charging technology before they can become a mainstream transportation method.
Researchers at the University of Surrey have discovered new materials as alternatives to battery – a supercapacitor. Here’s what experts from the university have to say about it:
“The new technology is believed to have the potential for electric cars to travel to similar distances as petrol cars without the need to stop for lengthy recharging breaks of between 6 and 8 hours, and instead recharge fully in the time it takes to fill a regular car with petrol”.
A quarter of global emissions come from feeding the world’s 7 billion people. Part of that comes from the consumption of meat.
“There is no way to produce enough meat for 9 billion people,” said Bill Gates.
The livestock industry is a big contributor to climate change. It takes more power to make one burger than seven iPads. Beef alone requires 28 times more land to produce than pork or chicken, 11 times more water and has five times more climate-warming emissions. One alternative is to start producing lab-grown meat and substitutes that look, taste and feel like the real thing. Technology is making it easier to cut out the animal-based foods.
Modern Meadow uses tissue engineering to make leather and meat products.
Beyond Meat, already supported by Bill Gates, has created the world’s first meat burger that is entirely plant based. It’s made mostly from vegetable protein found in peas.
These apps can help monitor and reduce your carbon footprint and waste:
Oroeco tracks your carbon footprint by placing a carbon value on everything you buy, eat, and do. It even shows you how you compare with your neighbours!
PaperKarma helps cut paper waste. Take a photo of your junk mail, send it through the app, and it will figure out what it is and take you off the mailing list.
GiveO2 tracks your carbon footprint as you travel. Turn on the tracker when you start a new trip, and it will automatically calculate a timeline of your carbon usage. At the end, you can “offset” it by supporting a sustainable project of your choice.
The Internet of Things (IoT)
Thanks to the connected Internet of Things, it’s easy to use technology to track our household energy usage.
An unprogrammed thermostat can waste 20% of heating and cooling. Nest tackles the issue with a smart thermostat. Nest learns your patterns and adjusts to save energy.
The Internet of Things can save energy and carbon footprints with things as simple as using an app to turn off the lights or with apps. IFTTT hooks up to many different types of systems. The IoT can involve monitoring your sprinkler system to save water, use sensors to tell you to take a different route when driving avoiding traffic and wasting gas.
It seems like a lot of information but remember – the world isn’t doomed just yet. Positive changes are happening daily, and still have the power to make an impact on our environment’s health.
Many technologies that are needed to move to a climate-safe society are already available so why not join in and use technology to create a better planet!