Technology and Climate Change
The UN Climate Change Conference in Bali, Indonesia, in December 2007 brought together over 11,000 participants, including industry representatives, development lobbyists, and human rights activists. As temperatures rose inside the conference rooms, the debate between delegates focused on the role of new technologies and innovation in combating climate change. Although delegates disagreed about the specific carbon emission reduction targets, they all agreed that these technologies will be crucial in the fight against climate change.
Whether it’s reducing carbon emissions by planting trees or improving energy efficiency by making vehicles run on renewable energy, technology is already tackling this issue. Companies such as Google and Microsoft have even launched cloud gaming platforms, enabling gamers to play games without a console. Of course, data centres require high-quality internet connections, and these can emit emissions. Unfortunately, many people don’t have these kinds of connections. Perhaps the most important technological solution to climate change is energy efficiency, which will reduce household bills and reduce overall energy consumption.
The most widely accepted explanation of climate change is that humans are the primary cause of the problem. However, we can’t blame human behavior for the problem, as a result of technological advancements. Humans need energy, and carbon dioxide is the main contributor. But the human population also needs it. Therefore, we can’t just reduce carbon dioxide emissions – we have to switch to clean sources. And this is where technology comes in. As it turns out, a wide array of technologies are available to help us address climate change.
One important way to combat climate change is to use technology. One technology is carbon dioxide storage in geological media. The principle behind this technology is to contain CO2 in the supercritical phase or as dissolved in formation water. Then, the CO2 will not be released into the atmosphere, thus preventing global warming. However, some geological media may provide pathways for CO2 leakage, such as existing oil and gas wells, which are susceptible to chemical degradation and mechanical defects.
Currently, climate change mitigation technologies have three main components: carbon capture from large stationary sources, transportation to a storage facility, and subsurface storage. These three parts of climate change mitigation technology are increasingly gaining ground thanks to advances in the field. CO2-EOR, for example, is already being deployed in industrial settings. It relies on scrubbers to remove gasses, and the systems are relatively cheap and easy to retrofit onto existing power plants.
Impacts on businesses
The effects of climate change will affect businesses in different ways, but they all share the same dangers: extreme weather events and changing natural ecosystems. These events will affect every industry differently, and they will often cause damage to property, operations, or even the ability to conduct business. For example, higher temperatures may cause wildfires, which could lead to an increase of 20 to 50 percent in days that are prone to these conditions. Increasing temperatures also affect crop production and property values. Lastly, climate change can impact leisure activities, including ski resorts, as less snow is available.
Companies should develop climate-resilient solutions in conjunction with other stakeholders to minimize the damage of climate-related catastrophes and protect their businesses. While it may seem a little difficult to achieve, businesses need to consider other stakeholders and strive to develop innovative solutions to combat climate risks and ensure the long-term success of their operations. If they fail to act, the consequences could be disastrous. If they do nothing to mitigate the impact of climate change, they will be forced to close their doors and let their customers down.
A recent study of carbon capture and storage (CCS) technologies has found an inverse correlation between support for the technology and climate change concern. Results from different CCS studies are mixed, indicating the need for caution when researching and developing new technologies. Discourses about the impending climate crisis have increased public concern in many countries, and presenting technology as an aid to combat climate change may not necessarily be enough to alleviate other aspects of public risk perceptions.