For many years now, human beings are solely responsible for bringing about climatic changes. These climatic changes are responsible for global warming. All these factors are adversely affecting our planet and in this technological era, it is high time we rope in technology for altering the climate change situation.
Following the Paris Agreement on Climate Change in 2016, many Tech giants decided to invest in solutions that can help reduce global emissions to solve the climate problem. While the tech giants, governments, research institutions, and billionaire investors are striving towards finding a technological solution towards combating climate change, it is the responsibility of every tech company to try and contribute as much as possible towards rescuing our planet with innovative technological solutions. Before you begin thinking on the lines of developing a technological solution read the following to understand what is climate tech and why do we need it urgently.
What is Climate Tech?
Climate tech is a rapidly emerging industry that uses data-driven products for developing solutions that enable governments, communities, institutions, and companies to understand the risk and exposure to the effects of climate change, for taking action to adapt and become resilient. To adapt to the adverse effects of climate change, technologies make use of renewable energies like wind, solar, and hydropower.
Although the use of technology for addressing climate change had begun way earlier, the Paris Agreement brought the urgency of handling this problem to everyone’s notice. Furthermore, this agreement speaks of the vision of fully realizing technology development and the need for transfer to improve resilience, to tackle climate change and reduce GHG emissions. It has helped establish a technology framework that provides structured and efficient guidance to the Technology Mechanism.
So what qualifies a solution to fall under the climate tech category? The model should be able to answer three main questions. Namely, does the prototype mitigate, adapt and provide resilience? Does the solution incorporate climate data and models, contribute towards existing weather or generate new climate or weather data? And, is the solution a scalable tech? If you can answer these questions then voila! Your solution comes under the climate tech category. Now that we have a clear picture of what climate tech is, read the following to understand the importance of this technology.
Importance of Climate Tech
Looking at the various problems that we are facing with respect to the climate, there is no surprise that addressing climate change has become the call of the hour. Mankind has adversely affected the atmosphere and it is time to put artificial methods such as technology to good use to bring a positive climate change. The following are some of the reasons why climate tech has become important, especially now!
To Reduce Greenhouse Gas Emissions
‘Necessity is the mother of invention’ and with this motto in mind, we have made so many inventions that have helped us progress. Technological inventions such as cars, air conditioning, the refrigerator, and almost everything produce emissions due to its dependency on conventional sources that are slowly destroying our planet for future generations. It is now time to reduce the dependency on such resources and start depending on more sustainable solutions that help reduce greenhouse gas emissions. It involves reducing pollution by finding alternate solutions to technology that have CO2 and other such harmful emissions.
To Promote Clean Energy in Various Industries
Today various industries such as transport, food, power, manufacturing, construction and many more make use of conventional energy thus increasing the carbon footprint. This is not only bad for us but is also adversely affecting our atmosphere. This is where technology could come to the rescue. The technology could be used in various industries to monitor greenhouse gas emissions, to solve urban problems, to find greener solutions, etc. Whether it is tackling transport problems with more efficient battery charging technology or finding solutions to build sustainable and smart cities, harnessing digital technologies to promote clean energy in various industries has become crucial.
To Provide Innovative Technological Solutions
Since the focus on harnessing technology to improve the environment has increased following the Paris Agreement, many giant tech companies have started research and building technologies that can combat climate change. Innovative green solutions that can help monitor pollution, devices that use renewable energies and many more like these can help rectify the climate change situation. In fact, many startups and tech businesses are striving to innovate a solution that benefits our environment.
Popular Technologies Used for Climate Tech
Saving our planet has become more important now than ever due to the very evident changes in the climate. The need for climate tech has brought about many opportunities for businesses to develop sustainable solutions. Some of the popular technologies used for climate are as listed below.
Climate data is available in heap and bounds and tackling this data in a way to draw a beneficial conclusion is not easy. This is where big data comes into the picture. Big data allows a company to analyze a massive amount of data to draw efficient conclusions. The UN even announced The Big Data Climate Challenge, to encourage the use of this technology for tackling the issue. It displays recently published projects that portray the economic impact of climate change patterns.
Mobile applications are used by almost everyone that has a smartphone. Apart from this technology allows creating a real change on a daily basis. There are even certain apps that have already been created to handle the need for climate tech. Oroeco is an app developed to track the carbon footprint by calculating the carbon value on everything that you do, purchase and eat. It can also display your results as compared to your neighbors. PaperKarma is another app that helps you find easy ways to reduce paper waste. And finally, another app worth mentioning is the GiveO2 that lets you track your carbon footprint as you travel. All you have to do is turn on the tracker when you start a new journey and automatically a timeline of your carbon usage is generated.
One big advantage of the Internet of Things or IoT is that it allows you to monitor energy usage in a smarter and more efficient manner. Some of the applications of IoT can be to tackle the issue of heating and cooling, by installing a smart thermostat, that analyzes your patterns to adjust and save energy. Carbon footprint can be reduced by other IoT applications like an app to turn the lights on or off, to monitor the sprinkler system or a sensor that guides you to take another route to avoid idling in traffic.
Geoengineering technologies tackle the need for handling climate change with a very different approach. It involves managing solar radiation or removing carbon dioxide and other such greenhouse gases for the purpose of counteracting climate change. However, whether this method is beneficial or not is still a big debate and might face some challenges before being implemented.
Mapping is a very simple technology that allows the user to view how differently some areas are affected by rising sea levels and a warming climate change with the help of maps. The main purpose of this technology is to make us aware of how humans have adversely affected the climate and create a sense of urgency towards rectifying the situation.
AI and Machine Learning
In the age of artificial intelligence and machine learning, it is only a matter of time before discoveries are made in this field for the purpose of climate tech. Many big companies are even making use of this technology for finding innovative and automated solutions for combating the climate issue.
The sky is the limit, and there are many more technologies that are being developed as you read this blog to tackle climate change. It is the need for climate tech that has led to a rise in these technological developments. However, in order to draw inspiration from the most popular investors that have already dived into the climate tech scenario and are hoping to find a solution to combat the issue, read the following for a better understanding.
Popular Investors of Climate Tech
A large mix of tech companies and research institutions across the globe are striving to fight climate change. Measures such as inculcating sustainable practices, switching to renewable sources of energy, and reducing carbon footprint are adopted by various tech giants. Following is a list of some popular investors of climate tech who are fighting for a better future.
Tesla being mentioned in this list is no surprise. Tesla has always been vocal about its mission to accelerate the global transition to sustainable energy. Their innovation and creation revolve around the efficiency of energy usage. This popular investor hasn’t just invested all its resources and money into creating sustainable solutions but has also invested a lot of their time and effort into it. Their goal is evident and they have always tried to prove the world that using electric vehicles is way better than gasoline-powered cars for the environment.
Google has been investing and building renewable energy projects even before the Paris agreement and the company’s sustainability program is available in a public Environmental Report. In 2017, Google has made an announcement that stated that including both their offices and data centers they will soon be reaching 100% renewable energy for global operations. Today, Google has become the world’s largest corporate buyer of renewable energy. Apart from this Google and its founders have also invested in a range of strategies and companies that strive to combat climate change.
Amazon, like Google, has been committed to investing in company’s that are trying to develop sustainable solutions by using unorthodox technology. Similar to Google, they too plan to eventually run completely on renewable energy. The Amazon Web Services have been building a variety of wind and solar projects to counteract their carbon footprint. Apart from mitigating to renewable energy, Amazon is also shipping their items in original containers and packages that are 100% recyclable.
Apple has been a popular climate tech investor and has contracted with First Solar in California for building a solar energy farm. The popular company has also invested and developed three solar plants in North Carolina. Besides using renewable energy, most of the materials used in the company are recycled or reused. Apple is one of the most popular and larger company significantly contributing to climate tech.
According to a survey by GlobeScan and SustainAbility, Unilever is the global corporate leader in environmental sustainability. They have invested in finding sustainable solutions and have almost eliminated single-use plastic packaging. The company is fighting climate change by becoming carbon positive. They even have brands that are 100 percent sustainable such as Dove, Ben & Jerry’s, Knorr, Sunsilk, Vaseline, etc.
Microsoft has been known to invest in new technologies such as biogas and fuel cell energy. They move towards a more sustainable future with innovative renewable power. The founder of the company Bill Gates has invested in a number of climate tech projects and companies such as Breakthrough Energy Coalition, Mission Innovation, TerraPower, Aquion Energy Inc., Carbon Engineering and much more. Following the Paris Agreement, the company is striving to meet the target of climate innovations. The company believes that by implementing data-driven technologies powered by AI the issues of climate change can be tackled efficiently.
Climate change is real and we only have ourselves to blame. It now falls upon us to smell the coffee and strive towards bringing about a real change by balancing our environment. The need for climate tech is more now than ever. Even the smallest contribution is a step towards a significant change. The way we have started depending on technology for making our life simple, it is time to now start using this technology towards helping the world becoming a better place. Tech companies and startups need to start understanding the need and determine how to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and find more sustainable solutions to reduce the adverse impacts of climate change.
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