Can technology contribute to solving the problem of climate change in the world?

Can technology contribute to solving the problem of climate change in the world?

The United Nations estimates that cities are responsible for 70 percent of greenhouse gas emissions. With the urban population expected to increase, designing energy-efficient cities is a top priority.

The technological revolution has certainly changed our lives. Without it, we would still live without electricity, ships, planes, trains, cars and tools.. We will return to live like cavemen, but some of us may wonder: Was technology as good for our environment as it was for us?

Technology's relationship to climate change has been around since the Second Industrial Revolution in the 1880s, when people started using coal to generate electricity for homes and industries.

German researchers develop the first building adaptable to climate change
In the beginning, people thought only the benefits, but today we know the huge environmental cost resulting from the invention of electricity, the process of generating this energy produces millions of tons of carbon and air emissions that lead to polluting the environment and increasing the harsh weather conditions that humanity suffers from, among other things a lot.

With the digital revolution, other challenges began to threaten our earth and our health. Humanity's addiction to the Internet has a high environmental cost, and even the smallest and most widely used modern devices - our smartphones - have a carbon footprint of their own.

As an example, the person who changes his mobile phone every 3 years, for example, will do so 23 times if the rate of his 70 - year - old, also said the platform "Tech Slang" (techslang) in a recent report.

Manufacturing these phones produces 1,610 kilograms of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere, which is 2.5 times the equivalent of flying from London to New York. And that's how much each person contributes to climate change from just making cell phones. Multiply this number by the world population now, which is about 7 billion people, and imagine the result!

We cannot live without internet or electricity now, but can digital technology be part of the solution to the climate change problem that the world is suffering from?

The answer is definitely yes, and in more than one field and field, according to the Straitstimes platform in a recent report.

Artificial intelligence
Among the many items on the agenda of the United Nations World Climate Change Conference in Glasgow, Scotland, on October 31, countries are preparing a roadmap for using artificial intelligence to combat climate change.

Artificial intelligence relies on complex calculations by high-powered computers that can devour huge amounts of energy in a short period. One algorithm, for example, produces five times more air emissions than a car that uses fossil fuels over its lifetime, according to a study   published by researchers from the University of Massachusetts. Recently.

On the other hand, AI is already helping to make a wide range of industrial processes more energy efficient and less polluting, simply by doing calculations that humans cannot do, and that would use up a lot of energy if they were done in the normal way.

The estimated company consulting "PWC" (Consultancy PwC) to increase the use of artificial intelligence in the four key sectors of the economy, including agriculture and transport, can reduce global emissions by 4%.

In this context, Peter Clutton-Brock, co-founder of the Center for Artificial Intelligence and Climate, said: AI is not a “panacea” that can reverse global climate change, but there are some interesting applications that are already showing how well AI can achieve this task.

These applications include using artificial intelligence to analyze data on deforestation and sea ice melt, in order to better predict which areas will be affected in the future.

Applications and search engines
Skeptics might argue that a single person can have only a limited impact on the environment, but experts have various applications at their disposal to monitor their personal carbon footprints, and infer from them how a single person's uses of digital technology affect the surrounding environment.

There are also various applications that can estimate emissions from car or plane rides, while other applications allow shoppers to scan items and see information about their environmental friendliness, which enables shoppers to buy environmentally friendly products and boycott goods that have a large environmental footprint.

As for search engines, Google recently announced modifications to its search tools that provide drivers with more fuel-efficient routes, as well as display flight emissions information, while the Ecosia search engine uses a part From his advertising profits to pay for reforestation in different regions of the world, where more than 135 million trees have been planted so far, and this is a very important development in the field of technology companies taking their moral responsibility in the fight against desertification and climate change.

Distance working
Was the shift towards remote work during the pandemic good for the environment? It's still unclear, the researchers say.

Last year, the massive drop in mobility was hailed as a major contributor to the drop in global emissions, as most of the world was under lockdown and curfews, which certainly helped reduce air polluting emissions.

On the other hand, the Internet has increased everywhere in the world, which means more energy is used, and in the winter, the amount of fuel used for heating was much higher, as everyone stayed in their homes and lit their stoves, rather than heating a group of people in one work office.

The International Energy Agency has found that if all “white collar” employees stayed home one day a week, global emissions could be cut by 24 million tons, roughly the same as the city of London in one year.

The agency said workers and employees who commute long distances by car can certainly reduce their carbon footprint by staying home.

But it concluded that drivers with a daily commute of less than 6 km may actually be using more energy by staying home with heaters on.

Cloud Computing
For many years, it was feared that the giant, energy-hungry data centers on which the global internet depends could become a major contributor to climate change, but a study published in Science last year suggests that these fears have not materialized thanks to unexpected efficiency jumps. .

In 2018, data centers consumed only about 1% of the world's electricity, despite the growing demand for data storage, and in fact, this is mainly due to the desire of technology giants to reduce electricity bills and save money, if we take Google, for example The company used AI to reduce its data center cooling costs by 40%.

Apple's senior vice president of Internet Software and Services Eddy Cue speaks about iCloud during the introduction of the new iPhone 4s at the company's headquarters October 4, 2011 in Cupertino, California.  The announcement marks the first time new CEO Tim Cook introduced a new product since Apple co-founder Steve Jobs resigned in August.

Smart cities
The United Nations estimates that cities are responsible for 70 percent of greenhouse gas emissions. With the urban population expected to increase, designing energy-efficient cities is a top priority.

In this field, the Internet of Things (IoT) - which connects objects with sensors that can communicate and make intelligent decisions - is being used in urban design.

A pilot project in Amsterdam, for example, used the Internet of Things to direct drivers to empty parking spaces, reducing the time they spend driving around the city in search of a parking spot.
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