Trump has been attacking wind turbines for quite a while. He has made the most bizarre claims about them, as he tried to prevent the construction of wind turbine parks (in…) in order to built golf courses instead. Jumping on the climate change hoax bandwagon, Trump recently claimed that the noise of wind turbines can cause cancer. He also said that electricity in houses will go off when there is no wind.
As climate change is yet again framed as fake news and many worry about the cost of climate policy, the tech scene might be the most hopeful place to save the planet. Tech hero’s can come up with great alternatives and solutions, while the rest of the world is fighting over the same arguments.
How? Let’s first have a look how the tech scene is tackling the biggest greenhouse-gas-emitting categories.
- Electricity. Consume Energy Smarter
Surely, you are quite attached to your coffee machine in the morning, your blowdryer and shaver. And who would be able to deal without lights in your building, your washing machine and phone? As the world is set on constantly increasing living standerds and this comes inevitably with higher electricity consumption.
Today, all over the world we spend most of our time in buildings. It constitutes 40% of our global energy demand. Luckily, start-up PHYSEE is out on a mission to make 100% of new buildings nearly zero-energy by 2021.
Founders Willem Kesterloo and Ferdinand Grapperhaus created an electricity generating glass skin, right out of Delft technical university. All laptops and coffee machines in office buildings should be running on solar power and the household appliances in the apartments of the future. A sensory system regulates and optimises the climate in buildings, to lower energy consumption.
- Transport. Optimising routes
Almost a third of the total European greenhouse gas emission come from the transport sector. MaaS Global wants to make public transportation so attractive, we wouldn’t want to spend our money on cars any longer. With their Whim app, already out in Finland, you can plan your route with public transport, car service or bike share. You conveniently pay all the way by the app, or you pick a plan. For just fifty euro’s a month and you have unlimited access to public transportation, and 30-minute shared bike rides.
A growing contributor to CO2 emissions is the shipping sector. The sector is already responsible for 2,5% of greenhouse gas emissions, but the emissions can increase anywhere between 50% and as much as 250% by 2050. Searoutes, the startup of Pierre Garreau has developed a model which calculates optimal shipping routes. With the app, ships will arrive quicker at their destination and the climate will be spared with less emissions. Go Searoutes!
- Agriculture. Changing how we handle food
Agriculture is the cause of about a quarter of all greenhouse gas emissions worldwide, half of which are carbon dioxide. For a big part this is caused by clearing forests for cattle, soy, palm oil and the likes, but emissions are also caused by production. Worst part of the story: half of all food around the world ends up in the garbage.
If rotten vegetables and half finished plates make you sad, Leanpath is the company to consult. They are on a mission to prevent food getting wasted. Since 2014, their food waste tracking technology helped commercial kitchens around the world prevent 25 million pounds of food from ending up in the trash.
- Towards the Garden of Eden. Just plant billions and billions of trees
The loss of forestation, primarily because of agriculture, contributes more to CO2 emissions than all cars and trucks on the road in the world. One the one hand, less trees means less filtering of CO2 out of the air and on the other hand, the cutdown trees release their stored CO2 into the air.
One of the most happy solutions to climate change: let’s restore the ecosystem. The startup BioCarbon Engineering is thinking bigger and bolder, the only way to tackle the challenge of deforestation, according to the company. They are on a mission to plant an amazing 500 billion trees by 2060, with the use of drones. Their drones analyse environments and disperses seeds across massive areas, adjusted to challenging areas.
The company values ‘expanding the art of the possible’. And this, might be exactly what the tech scene can do to make an impact. Or in the words of BioCarbon Engineering: “harness our own adventurous spirits to search for the solutions that will enable and inspire.”