Everybody agrees that climate change is the biggest challenge we’re experiencing today. However, we live in an era of huge technological innovation. Emerging technologies are not only deepening our understanding of the difficult environmental challenges we face but also providing us with new ways to solve them. Using technologies should accelerate our future trajectory toward a greener and healthier environment.
Companies and governments need to be able to quantify, reduce and monitor their emissions. This is not only complex and time-consuming but also prone to errors. The use of technology simplifies everything. Adding climate action to financial services is rapidly increasing, and the solutions seem to work. Let’s look at some emerging technologies and how they can help us.
Reduction of methane emissions
Methane is a greenhouse gas, released by animals and human activities such as agriculture, industry, and fossil fuel production. Human activity emissions are estimated to be responsible for about a quarter of all the warming we’re experiencing today. In the past, we thought that reducing methane emissions would be impossible. However, that was before technologies emerged that made it possible.
Technologies capture methane from its sources before it becomes a greenhouse gas, such as anaerobic digesters, landfill gas capture systems, and landfills with geologic controls. How are emissions measured? The Environmental Defense Fund launched an unprecedented large-scale project to measure emissions from the US using a range of technologies, including sensors mounted on drones, airplanes, and even Google Street View cars.
Deploying sensor technologies
Talking of sensors, deploying sensor technologies will be necessary to help mitigate the effects of climate change. They can help us track the impact of our carbon footprint, monitor how our actions affect the environment, and predict what will happen if we continue doing them. One example is the MethaneSAT satellite, which will monitor methane emissions from space.
You can’t get away from sensors. They are practically everywhere we go. Wearable bracelets can now track your daily exposure to chemicals and your heartbeat. Google cars measure pollution levels. Sensors measure the number of chemicals farmers use in their fields. Online retailers use blockchain to improve accountability. The list goes on and will continue to grow alongside technologies.
Entering the universe
Space technologies and satellites can help mitigate the effects of climate change and protect communities from the effects of climate change. We have used these technologies for decades to predict weather conditions. 160 satellites currently orbit the globe, providing information on sea levels, atmospheric gases, and the planet’s changing temperature. Also, they can act as a warning system.
Technology is leading us to new solutions for climate change. To enter the universe, we need a new propulsion system. The US is working on a new engine that uses nuclear energy and could reduce the cost of space travel tenfold. The atmosphere is becoming more acidic due to human activity. Also, the acidity levels of oceans have increased since pre-industrial times.
Combat climate change by driving an electric vehicle.
Transportation also accounts for 23% of total global CO2-related energy emissions. Besides, we need much more efficient batteries and battery-charging technology to transition to electric vehicles. However, demand for transportation will continue to rise. Electric cars can now travel the same distances as petrol cars without requiring lengthy battery charging breaks of six to eight hours.
AIoT, carbon offsets, and technology made to measure
The artificial intelligence of things (AIoT) solutions collect and transform data into reports for accurate emissions monitoring as well as predictive modeling of expected reductions. It also provides carbon offset validation support in near real-time. Although this option should only be used as a last resort, the offset market plays an essential role for many businesses and countries in achieving their net-zero emissions goals.
Technology created to enhance
As well as scaling up wind, solar and nuclear power, we must develop new ways of creating and storing green energy. Better energy storage solutions are required if we want to use wind and solar energy on a larger scale. Scientists hope that quantum computing may allow us to develop safer and lighter batteries that don’t rely on rare materials.
AI models have already been used to optimize the shape of wind turbine blades. 3D printing has enabled manufacturers to produce lighter solar panels with larger surface areas, improving efficiency and lowering the cost of solar power. It is also used to create complex designs for next-generation nuclear reactors. Technology plays a crucial role in the future of all of these industries.
Climate change solutions for the future
We have looked at just some of how technology can help us monitor, mitigate and adapt to climate change. Luckily for us, new technologies are constantly emerging, promising to resolve the unresolvable. We need to invest our time and our resources in these technologies so that they can be scaled up and employed on mass globally.