In recent years, greenhouse gases have been major contributors to the earth’s climate change. The climate is changing rapidly and for the worst. According to Our World in Data, 76% of the greenhouse gas emissions come from things such as manufacturing, transportation, electricity, heat, and food productions (Ritchie, et. al). Technology could play a big role in countering these human induced CO2 emissions. One question to ask is: what innovative technology would have the most impact on mitigating climate change in the US?
Ways to Reduce Greenhouse Gas Emissions
There are many emerging technologies that are being implemented to reduce the production of CO2 emissions, such as using renewable energy, which is cost effective; utilizing electricity for transportation; and building energy efficient cities known as Smart Cities. One way to reduce carbon emission is nuclear power, but there are associated risks and it’s not cost effective.
A Canadian company known as General Fusion is working to create a cost effective and nuclear fusion power plant. Fusion produced power is clean energy with no Co2 emission. Instead of emitting greenhouse gas, it emits helium which is safer for the environment. It’s also safe with no significant risk; it produces less waste and uses less land than other renewable technologies currently available.
In the US, average temperatures have increased by 1.3°F to 1.9°F since 1895 and it continues to rise according to the article “Climate Change Impacts in the United States” (2014). The recent years had the highest temperatures. According to the article “5 tech innovations that could save us from climate change” by Alex Gray, transport produces 23% of global Co2 emissions and since the US is becoming more urbanized, the demand for transportation will keep increasing (2017). Electric vehicles are already in production, but they are not efficient enough and they require tremendous amount of power to operate which is provided by the batteries.
The batteries that power the electric vehicle is not efficient and the technology is not advanced to meet the demands of faster charging and longer power production. To provide more efficient power to the electric vehicles, researchers at the University of Surrey have created a supercapacitor with the help of new materials and technology, which is 1,0 “00-10,000 times more powerful than the current batteries in production.
Improvements on Energy Efficiency by ‘Smart’ Technology
As the urban population grows, so does the need for efficient systems to accommodate the growing population and provide better living circumstances to the citizens. More cities are relying on technology to improve daily lives of the residents and visitors. Adopting new and emerging technologies will streamline services, such as transportation, financial, and environmental aspects of the urban cities, which will result in efficient energy consumption, thus improving the climate. The term used to describe the cities which are adopting and relying on technology is “Smart City”. According to the article “Smart cities: A cheat sheet” by Teena Maddox, which is published in TechRepublic website, “Across the globe, smart city technology spending reached $80 billion in 2016, and is expected to grow to $135 billion by 2021, according to a report from the International Data Corporation (IDC) ”(Maddox, 2018).
IoT or Internet of Things refer to the sensors and devices used to interconnect and share data over internet. Smart cities utilize the IoT technology to collect the city’s data and connect different components across the city to improve the lives of the residents and visitors. According to the article “The world’s smartest cities: What IoT and smart governments will mean for you”, more than 60% of the world’s population will be living in the cities by the year, 2050. IoT devices could be used to streamline many services in the city (Maddox, 2015). For instance, it could be used to help the environment and keep the city clean, such as using sensors in smart trash cans. The trash could be compressed by the trash can and once it is full, it will automatically notify the sanitation department to collect the trash in a timely manner.
Advanced Technology for Improving Recycling
A company called Sidewalk Labs, which is owned by the parent company of Google called Alphabet, is working to bring smart recycling which provides data to the residents about their recycling habits and how they can help improve their recycling. By adopting smart technologies, these cities will be future proof and benefit from the advancing technologies which could be used in urban development according to “Sidewalk Labs is reimagining cities to improve quality of life”, (2020). It could reduce the carbon emission and will lead to an improved and positive climate change.
Gray, A. (2017, January 9). 5 Tech innovations that could save us from climate change. World Economic Forum. Retrieved fromhttps://www.weforum.org/agenda/2017/01/tech-innovations-save-us-from-climate-change/
Maddox, T. (2018, September 21). Smart cities: A cheat sheet. Retrieved February 23, 2020, from https://www.techrepublic.com/article/smart-cities-the-smart-persons-guide/
Maddox, T. (2015, November 10). The world’s smartest cities: What IoT and smart governments will mean for you. TechRepublic. Retrieved from https://www.techrepublic.com/article/smart-cities/
Ritchie, H. & Rouser, M. (2019, December). C02 and Greenhouse Gas Emissions. Our World in Data. Retrieved from https://ourworldindata.org/co2-and-other-greenhouse-gas-emissions
Climate Change Impacts in the United States. (2014). Global Change. Retrieved from https://www.globalchange.gov/sites/globalchange/files/NCA3-climate-trends-regional-impacts-brochure.pdf
Sidewalk Labs is reimagining cities to improve quality of life. (2020). Sidewalk Labs. Retrieved from https://www.sidewalklabs.com/