Carbon emissions are on the rise again, what can be done?

Jordan Appleson, CEO of Hark

You might have heard the word sustainability so much recently that you believe we are on a steadfast path to carbon neutral, but we’re not quite there yet! According to research, global greenhouse gas emissions are on track to rise again to their highest level in history. So, although progress is being made, there is still a lot of work to be done.

Temperature is Rising

The climate crisis puzzle is yet to be solved. At this point in time, 195 countries have signed the Paris Agreement, acknowledging their commitment to becoming carbon neutral by 2050. The momentum now needs to be converted into action and according to the Committee on Climate Change, the government isn’t tackling climate change fast enough, as the UK continues to deal with flash floods and loss of biodiversity.

As the temperatures continue to rise, so does the rate of natural disasters; the number of climate-related disasters in the last 30 years has tripled. Just this last year, California experienced one of its worst forest fires in history, destroying miles of wildfire and relocating thousands from their homes. This movement is now being referred to as ‘Climigration’ when people are forced to move due to climate change.

Tackling Climate Change Head On

Time is of the essence and to achieve carbon removal at scale, sustained technological innovation is required. A whole new arsenal of tech is emerging in the fight against climate change, one of those is negative emissions technologies. To counteract the emissions that are being let out into the atmosphere, these innovative technologies use direct air capture which uses chemical reactions and energy to capture ambient carbon dioxide and concentrate it for storage or use. MIT engineers have been developing a new way to capture air, this new system can capture carbon dioxide from a stream of gas at virtually any concentration level. The device is essentially a large, specialised battery that absorbs carbon dioxide from the air passing over its electrodes as it is being charged up and then releases the gas as its being discharged.

Many businesses have pledged to become carbon neutral, but some have taken this one step further and plan to become carbon negative. For example, Microsoft announced that it aims to be carbon negative by 2030 and plans to remove all the carbon out of the atmosphere they have emitted since its founding in 1975 by 2050.

IoT – Silver Bullet for Climate Change

These capture technologies are essential, but it is imperative to be more preventative rather than reactive and aim to reduce the level of emissions being released in the first place. Companies may not be able to tackle all of the planet’s problems, but they can focus on their own carbon footprint and drive carbon neutrality in their operations.

The need for innovative energy solutions to reduce carbon emissions has never been so urgent. IoT technology can be used both on a company specific basis and also in city-wide monitoring to measure the impact on industrial processes through sensors, monitoring air and water quality, pollution levels and even monitor environmental ramifications such as coastal erosion, making us aware of the issues so that interventions can be made.

When used in a business format and combined with artificial intelligence, the technology can make sense of the raw data and provide insight into operations. This could be how much energy a supermarket is consuming through their lighting or how much a manufacturer consumes during one production cycle. In addition, it enables predictive analysis as it can identify anomalies in assets, so that they can be repaired to avoid additional loss in energy and thereby excessive emissions being released. Combined energy solutions also enable assets to be controlled automatically to offer ultimate efficient operations, driving down carbon emission production. Through technology integration, Vodafone UK has already saved 100 gigawatt hours (GWh) of energy and 25,000 tonnes of Co2.

The next decade can be one of renewal, both for the environment and UK businesses. Cutting-edge technology is part of the answer to the climate change puzzle, and with innovations continuously being developed, strives towards carbon neutral can be achieved, it just needs one thing: action!

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