With the pandemic taking a toll on lakhs of people around the world and news of landslides, earthquake and floods hitting the newspaper now and then, it is becoming increasingly clear as to how human activities have impacted our environment. If we talk about Tsunamis, dust storms, floods and even draughts in general, all of these are direct implications of climate change. With the emission of greenhouse gases in the atmosphere, particularly the excessive emission of carbon dioxide has shown major changes in the climate in the recent past.
According to the reports generated by the Institute of tropical meteorology, the temperature has risen by 0.8 degree Celsius till 2018. The rise in temperature will lead to hot days and will lead to the melting of glaciers. It also affects the agricultural industry leading to a fall in incomes of the farmers. In cities where economic activity is being generated, it might lead to diseases and decrease productivity. In coastal areas, climate change- rising sea levels pose an additional threat leading to frequent floods.
It is therefore very important that needful measures are taken to avoid such situations in future. A report suggests that by the year 2030, the average temperature will rise by 4.4 degree Celsius. In this regard, India has already become a signatory to the Paris climate agreement in the year 2015. But the current emissions and statistics are saying something else, and the impact can be worse. It is necessary to take appropriate steps and precautions to reduce the emissions in the atmosphere and bring a balance in the climate.
In this context, many technological and innovations have been done in recent years to compact climate changes. Bill Gates, along with some of the other most affluent people of the world, has launched funds to invest in technology-driven solutions. Innovation and technology have always been a stepping stone in achieving desired results.
Let’s have a look at some of the recent innovations in the field of climate change research.
The 9 best Innovations in Countering Climate Change till date!
Transport is one of the major factors contributing to emissions in the atmosphere and hence climate change. The statistics say that 23% of the global energy carbon dioxide emissions come from electric vehicles. The demand for transport is ever-increasing and hence if we have to keep the pollution under control, we will have to find alternative ways of powering vehicles with maybe electricity. This requires the use of efficient battery charging technologies. The researchers have also found an alternative to the battery power, which is 1000 times more powerful than the already present battery alternative. While all of these are still under pilot, one thing that has actually happened and established itself is the Electric Vehicles. With governments across countries providing subsidies on the same, it will soon be possible to have electric vehicles as mainstream modes of transportation.
The use of electric vehicles as a means to counter climate change has increased the demand for lithium and cobalt batteries and have reduced their cost also. Industries are now using these batteries for storing energy. Being cost-effective, they are now widely used to reduce power costs, increase reliability and make power systems more flexible. Also, alternative methods for recycling old EV batteries to make new ones are being researched and if all goes well, the scientists are looking at 2025 for the first successful commercial pilot for the same.
Efficient Recycling Methods
The statistics point out that 160 million garbage is released and dumped every year, and only 16% gets recycled. The new technology can help the industries adopt a model which can eliminate waste within all the sectors and sustainably benefit the environment. One such process is pyrolysis, wherewith the help of heat and absence of oxygen the trash can be converted into liquid feedstock.
The use of LED lights and bulbs is also getting popular these days. It has replaced the traditional incandescent bulbs. They have reduced the energy consumption to a great extent by around 40%, which helps in saving the electricity bill and saves money. By adopting the LED lights, American households can achieve 84% market share by 2030. As of India, we all know how the Government went ahead to subsidise Syska LEDs for their supreme cost-effectiveness.
Carbon Sequestration Methods
The excessive emissions of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere has had serious consequences and has contributed significantly to adverse climate change. Therefore, it is important to remove or attain a zero net emission situation. This can be done by capturing or carbon removal techniques. Carbon capture and storage is the process of capturing carbon at the source, compressing it and moving it to the permanent storage sites like stones, underground, etc. this technology helps in reducing the greenhouse gas emission significantly. The manufacturers are also using the captured carbon to make plastics.
Hydrogen-Powered Fuel Cells
Using hydrogen-powered fuel cell vehicles can help in reducing carbon dioxide emissions to a great extent. A hydrogen-powered fuel cell can store more energy with less weight. Hydrogen-powered fuel vehicles are a way to lead a clean environment. They are already being used in Japan, California, South- Korea and Germany but commercial availability hasn’t been made possible as yet.
Renewable energy is being used to bring energy quickly and cost-effectively. Solar energy power plants are being used to trap heat and provide them at a lower price. Countries like sub-Sahara Africa and the Caribbean are also exploring the renewable source like solar energy to produce energy cost-effectively. Even India is working towards having multiple solar farms to harness energy. We did a short feature on the Solar Mamas of Rajasthan. You might want to read about it!
Around 30% of carbon emissions come from industry, more specifically construction and hence this becomes another significant factor to consider while considering options to combat climate change. Lighting, power, heating and cooling is required in-home, schools and buildings. The buildings also contribute to the emission of gases into the atmosphere. This can be controlled by building smarter cities and smarter buildings. In this respect, a company called sidewalk labs is using digital technologies to solve prevalent urban problems. The company is already running a project where it is keeping track of how the traffic flows in the city and how congestion can be reduced. This can help in reducing air pollution to a great extent. Also, if you would want to become a LEED Green Associate, you might want to check out our course on BOE Academy.
Smarter Food Alternatives
Providing food to people (more like arranging for meat for the meat-eaters) also contributes to a great extent in global emissions. An alternative that can be adopted here is producing lab-grown beef. The substitutes for producing meat can be made tasty, similar in looks and pretty much the same in the feel too. In this regard, a company named beyond meat has made World’s first meat burger that is made from the plant. It is made from vegetable proteins found in peas.
Needless to say that promoting such technological changes can help in achieving a sustainable environment. Adoption of such technologies by the companies should be emphasised upon so that climatic changes and related issues can be solved. Rather, it would be a good idea that a part of the CSR budgets is diverted to these climate change countering initiatives. Not only will this increase opportunities for skilled resources but also help to bring in the ideal sustainability concept into practice faster.
So, well, that was that!
We will touch this topic again soon!
So, stay tuned! Click here to read about 9 sustainable innovation done in India.