Is tech making global warming, better or worse?
Throughout history, technology has played a substantial role towards influencing climate change. The very first significant impact came during the 1880s. This was when the second industrial revolution or technological revolution took place. At this time, coal was used for the very first time in order to generate electricity for factories and homes.
Advancement has come at a price, and lays its consequences over our lives. While the technological advancement helped people power businesses, carbon emissions released in the environment were higher as well.
Negative effects of technology over climate change
As per a report by the U.S. Department of Energy, coal became the most used fossil fuel to generate electricity by 1961.
The side-effects of using fossil fuels and coal to generate electricity shows in conditions like asthma and have been scientifically recognized. Nonetheless fossil fuels and coal are still widely used.
The numbers of electronic gadgets that are nowadays available are higher than they ever used to be, adds up the energy consumption. The number of cars, airplanes, and ships further increases energy consumption significantly, apart from increasing carbon emissions.
Industrialization of meat Industry
A report by the National Intelligence Council has pointed out that as compared to 2013, the world will require 50% more food, 35% more fresh water and 40% more energy by 2030. The question to ponder is does the answer lie in industrialized meat production.
4 of the 9 planetary boundaries are associated with industrialized meat production. They are use of freshwater and land, nutrient overload in the form of nitrogen and phosphorus, and climate change. Moreover, livestock production is responsible for 14.5% of total greenhouse gas emissions.
It is hence only right that one starts making a shift towards alternative forms of meat such as tofu and tempeh.
Future of technology can influence climate change in a positive way
Technological advancements have put us in a position to create more energy efficient appliances, machinery and electronics. We now see a higher efficiency across both, production and consumption of electricity.
A commitment towards use of renewable sources of energy at both, personal and national levels is the right way to minimize the impact of climate change. Each of the technological advancements is attempting to stop global warming in its tracks, such that emissions such as methane stay at an absolute minimum.
Environmental Defense Fund (EDF) is a nonprofit environmental advocacy group based in United States. The organization has unveiled a satellite – MethaneSAT which is a groundbreaking project.
MethaneSAT is created to accurately point out both, the location magnitude of methane emissions. It can recover the data from virtually all locations worldwide.
As we reduce our carbon footprint and further mitigate methane emissions, we advance technologically while still taking care of the planet.
Carbon Capture and Storage (CCS)
Carbon Capture and Storage Association have specified that the CCS technology can capture up to 90% of CO2 emissions generated globally. With the growth of renewable energy, carbon emissions would go on decreasing. They will then reach a negative stage, the CCS association predicts. Removal of CO2 from the atmosphere is then simplified.
CCS technologies first capture carbon using their plants in Mississippi or Texas, or they may be captured from the air. The gas then transported and stored such that it does not enter the environment again.
CCS is one of the technologies that have stayed for long at a research stage for being a fuel friendly innovation. Nevertheless, Climeworks, Swiss company is now the very first enterprise to use CCS commercially.
When the CCS technology is used, CO2 emissions are captured directly from the atmosphere. Following this, it is converted into fertilizer for crops.
By 2025, the company aims at capturing 1% of CO2 all across the world.
How to technologically reduce carbon footprint at an individual level?
Using technological gadgets comes with a cost, environmentally and economically alike. One can reduce once carbon footprint by switching off appliances when they are not in use. Similarly computers consume energy when left unattended as well. They should be in sleep mode when unattended.
One can alternately use power strips and connect multiple appliances to those. A single switch cuts off power to all appliances. Similarly, using a fuel-efficient vehicle also helps, if one does not use a hybrid or an electric vehicle. Keeping a car well maintained keeps it fuel efficient, so it’s best to have it serviced regularly. Then, one can carpool with one’s colleagues when driving to work. The mantra to keep in mind is to reduce, reuse, and recycle.
‘All hands on the deck’ approach is necessary to counter climate change in the present day scenario. Who we are is defined by what we leave behind. The time to act against climate change is now. It works well for our well being and health, and that of the generations to come.